Tell us about downtown Jackson and how it’s grown.
Downtown Jackson has been on a strong and steady growth path for years. Everything from events to downtown shopping has seen huge improvements. The city, local businesses, the DDA and investors have all come together in a way that is unique, and the success is very evident. And we’re not done yet. Wait until you see what happens in the next five (years). The most common comment we hear from return visitors is “wow.” Jackson has changed so much for the better that it is in ways unrecognizable, and that goes beyond cosmetic and added businesses. The Bright Walls Project, Gus Macker tournament, car shows, Cruise In and Concerts, Summerfest and so many events happening year-round.
How did businesses and the community come together to support each other during the pandemic?
The growth of Jackson has taken hard work and risk on the part of many. The foundation built by those willing to take a chance on Jackson paved the way to successes leading up to COVID. The pandemic struck at a critical time in the continued growth downtown and could have been catastrophic. That foundation and a supportive community has been essential to surviving the last year. Collaboration amongst the downtown businesses is a great example of how they have stepped up and worked to control their own destiny. Many of the businesses have been meeting in an effort to grow the shopping experience.
What will this summer look in downtown Jackson?
With regulations changing so quickly it is hard to determine exactly which events and activities will happen in downtown Jackson this year. I am more than certain though that a vibrant, fun and positive downtown is already happening every day in Jackson, and any event we will be able to host will only add to a great experience as we come out of the COVID pandemic.
Any exciting things coming to downtown Jackson once this pandemic is under control?
The number of businesses that continue to look at downtown as a new home continues to increase. The momentum of those willing to invest in our city prior to COVID has created the foundation of a downtown that shows with the right community it is possibly to take an average small city and turn it into something great. Jackson is a perfect example of this. Our residential buildings are filling fast and continue to bring more people downtown. With venues like Keeley Park, the Michigan Theatre and Horace Blackman Park alongside the bars, restaurants and shops, it is hard to say what will be the next new event for Jackson.
If you have been to Jackson, but not in the last five-plus years, it is time to come back and see the amazing changes that have happened.