JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Developers have been talking about revitalizing Farish Street for years. But for over a decade, the historic district is, for the most part, empty and abandoned.
In light of this weekend's Farish Street Festival, Three On Your Side checked on its progress.
We found construction crews working to build new businesses on the long-abandoned street with a rich history.
Watkins Development took over the project in 2008, after a number of developers failed on to revitalize the entertainment district. The company recently revitalized the nearby King Edward and Standard Life Building.
"Keep doubting us, because we're going to keep proving you wrong," said Brad "Kamikaze" Franklin, director of entertainment for Watkins Development."Our time has come. Finally. It's been a long road. It's been 15 years since we've been talking about getting this up and running."
Franklin said five buildings are on schedule to open in November. They are the Subway Lounge, Cool Al's Superburgers, the Big Apple Inn, Beethoven's, and Hamp's Juke Joint. According to Franklin, B.B. King's will open in May of 2011.
But there's still a lot of work to be done. Many buildings still stand, gutted and abandoned,.
"We're going to stay consist ant," said Franklin. "We want you guys to trust us, we want you guys to have faith we'll complete the project."
"We're going to try to get bigger and better each year, we just need people to come out and support it."
The construction gives new meaning to this weekend's 32nd annual Farish Street Festival. Gates open at 4 PM on both Friday and Saturday.
"It is a great stimulation to all of us. Especially, not only just because of the entertainment district, but to recognize the rich heritage Farish Street has had for all these years," said Lee King, executive producer of the festival.
"Farish Street, as I said, is a game-changer. This is going to change the complexion of this city and the surrounding areas for years to come," said Franklin.
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