JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - A "king" is crowned in Jackson. Saturday the historic King Edward Hotel held its official grand opening and hundreds turned out to celebrate. "It's been a long time coming for sure. It's a wonderful night seeing the majesty of this evening. It's just thrilling," said developer and co-owner David Watkins.
It has been a labor of love for co-owners Watkins, Eddie Boettner and Deuce McAllister. "We got a lot of great athletes that have come and not really come back home. But you want to be one of the guys that never forgot where you are from and be able to say you're proud to be from Mississippi and hopefully make this a successful venture," said McAllister.
It was a black tie affair and added the fanfare. Several years ago this scene would have been hard to imagine. For 42 years the hotel's future was uncertain, boarded up and home to pigeons, not patrons.
"We have proven that we can do it, we can do anything. If we can do the King Edward we can do anything and by golly we are," said Watkins.
That includes helping the surrounding community. The event raised nearly $20,000 for Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi.
"The greatest thing is it allows them to do 40 plus clients for a whole year. They can take care of 40 plus people and give them something to do after school to help them mentor these young men and women," said Boettner.
This is not the end of the story. Watkins continues to develop areas of downtown Jackson including restoring the historic Farish Street District.
"We're alive. We're coming back and ain't nothing stopping us," said Watkins.
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