JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson just can’t get out of its own way. Just when it seems the city is making progress, a new issue appears.
The Jackson Convention Center, a beautiful, impressive facility is now in the spotlight as the management company seeks funds to cover payroll and keep the operation running. It’s no surprise the facility is struggling. Plans to build a convention center hotel and other amenities next to the facility never materialized. The area around the convention center looks like an abandoned industrial park.
Rankin County has a new conference center under construction in Flowood with plans to open next summer. The state has a new facility under construction at the Coliseum with the new Trade Mart, also expected to open in 2020. The competition for conventions and other events is about to get more competitive. This probably sounds blasphemous to some, but rather than battling each other, why not work together?
Perhaps, Jackson, the state, and Rankin County could work together and create a Metro Convention Center commission, similar to the New Orleans Sports Foundation, to market all the facilities in the region. Wouldn’t it make sense to offer convention planners multiple options that best fit their goals? Wouldn’t that improve our chances of landing a major convention?
Jackson leaders need to invest in the opportunities that have the most potential, like the area around the convention center, and stop spending time, energy and money on items with little potential… like the zoo.
And instead of working on separate islands, someone needs to show some leadership and begin building a coalition to bring together Hinds, Madison, and Rankin counties. Working together could create a rising tide that would benefit the entire area.