JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - An unusual gathering spot Wednesday for Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson's 2010 State of the City Address: center court at the Metro Center Mall.
"We chose this setting as an indication of our administration's continued commitment to the revitalization of the area," Mayor Johnson told the crowd. "I believe, just as many of you (do), that the best days of Highway 80 and Metro Center Mall are ahead."
Mayor Johnson did not specify which new stores, if any, have leased space in the Metro Center Mall. Earlier this year his administration purchased the Dillard's property and plans to spruce it up to attract more businesses.
Outside the mall, the old Jackson Square Shopping Center on Terry Road will soon be transformed into an outlet mall.
A new JATRAN facility is going up at Highway 80 and Valley Street.
The Jackson Police Department will do what's needed to make visitors feel safe. "Realigning the precinct structure. Making more beats, splitting up longer beats," said Jackson Police Chief Rebecca Coleman.
The city is growing. A 250-million-dollar Capital City Center is going up in downtown Jackson. The Farish Street entertainment district should open this fall.
Mayor Johnson named a few more projects. "Along I-55 north, Comcast has moved into the old Kmart building. UMC is about to build a biotech facility down where the old farmers market (is) located," he said.
The city will also take on several road and bridge improvements, including the Fortification Street project, which should begin early next year.
But safeguards against future water main breaks won't come as quickly. Mayor Johnson said the city needs about $80 million to address the problems. "It's a process of incrementally trying to address the top priorities with the $6 million we got from the state that will allow us to work in the capital complex," he said. "We're getting $10 million, hopefully, from the federal government that we'll spend all over in terms of the water system."
The city is also moving forward on a 3-1-1 non-emergency call system, where citizens can report problems regarding potholes, abandoned houses, and other nuisances, and they can track the progress of their request.
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