JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - In our exclusive one-on-one with Mayor Lumumba, we have an update on the Jackson Zoo and how soon there could be an agreement with ZoOceanarium.
The Mayor also responds to complaints about the hiring of Steve Hutton, the former Executive Director of the State Fair Commission after his arrest by MBI.
A group of golfers says they are concerned that Steve Hutton has been hired to manage the Pete Brown golf course. Hutton was arrested by MBI and charged with promoting prostitution in April.
He was fired by the Fair Commission. .
Mayor Lumumba said, "the gentleman that you're speaking of had a significant leadership role in the PGA tour and so he has a very unique talent. If we felt that there was any threat there or present then we wouldn't hesitate to act and so we're just trying to build a first class golf course for our residents and visitors to enjoy."
The mayor says the golfers have not contacted his office with their complaints.
“The city has a ‘ban the box’ policy where we try to open up opportunities for employment for people and not push them aside. We have not actually directly heard from any golfer’s concerns,” said Mayor Lumumba.
Mayor Lumumba says COVID-19 has slowed down the process but there is movement on the agreement with ZoOceanarium to manage the city's park.
Mayor Lumumba said, “We were able to have an oral agreement on the final terms that was being drafted and their attorneys are reviewing it so its all falling into place. We want to make certain that we have a beautiful zoo and an amazing attraction.”
The city is now waiting for an inspection by the USDA.
“Well not only are they pursuing a license, we’re trying to pursue the license for ourselves as a city, so that it gives us more flexibility over time as we look at who’s managing it and the job that they are doing so that we don’t have to go through the entire process of having licensing again,” the mayor said.
This week the city also announced plans for the planetarium. It has been closed since April 2018 due to a roof leak and interior damage. The leak is fixed and the planetarium will have its first full renovation in the last 40 years.
The mayor says the oral agreement with ZoOceanarium was reached about a week and a half ago. He tells us the city has pretty much accomplished all the things they needed to at the Jackson Zoo.