LeFleur East looking ahead to the future, following BID vote

LeFleur East Foundation
LeFleur East Foundation(WLBT)
Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 6:10 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - With a major hurdle out of the way, leaders with Jackson’s newest business improvement district (BID) are looking ahead to the future.

For those spearheading efforts to form the LeFleur East BID, the next step is creating a board of directors and tweaking final plans on how it will spend BID revenue.

In August, business and property owners in the proposed district boundaries voted 62 percent in favor of creating the district, clearing the way for it to become the third one of its kind in the city of Jackson.

Starting in January, business owners in the affected area will begin paying a special assessment along with the property taxes. The LeFleur East Foundation, the group that pushed for the creation of the district, will likely begin receiving the funds later that year.

“We’re going to start fine-tuning our plans. We obviously want to meet with the business community, the business leaders in that corridor, and create a board,” said Dr. Clay Hays, president of the foundation. “We want to create this one, sort of dedicated board to the BID, so [business owners] will feel engaged and we support them. This is to help the business community, so that’s what we want to do.”

In recent months, LeFleur East has been working to establish the bid along I-55 and Lakeland Drive. A vote was held in August. For the BID to be approved, 60 percent of those casting ballots had to vote in favor. The proposal to create the district squeaked by with 62 percent of the vote, Hays said.

Hayes said the foundation will be speaking with those who did not vote in favor of the district, in the hopes of bringing them along as well.

“We want those people to be involved in the positive process,” he said. “So, yeah, we’re probably going to have some folks that voted “no” on the board, just to make sure that they’re heard. We very much believe in a fair process. And, you know, good ideas can come from anywhere.”

The board will include between 10 and 25 members, all from property and business owners within BID boundaries. Once appointed, members will help determine how BID revenues will be used.

Property owners in the area will pay an additional 7 cents per square foot in ad valorem taxes. That assessment is expected to generate around $212,000 a year. Of that, $116,476 would go to landscaping and landscape maintenance, $31,766 would go toward public safety, and $21,177 would go toward marketing.

The district runs along I-55 from Canton Mart Road to just south of Lakeland Drive, and along Lakeland from the interstate to the Pearl River. About 400 parcels are impacted, including the ones that are home to Highland Village, Kroger, and the Maywood Mart shopping center.

“Well start sprucing that up on both sides of the interstate and both sides of Lakeland, and, of course in the middle of Lakeland,” Hays said. “So, that’s the big piece. And the next 30 to 35 percent of the budget will be used for safety and security. And what I mean by that is to put, you know, cameras out, so we can network a system and work with city police to start better monitoring these areas to try to make a dent into crime. The rest of the money, we’ll start working on other projects that come up within the business community.”

The LeFleur East Foundation will continue to be involved, in part, to help manage BID projects. It also is going to continue working toward forming another community improvement district, much like the one that is in place in Belhaven.

As for the LeFleur East BID, Hays is confident it will be a game-changer for businesses in Northeast Jackson. “The BIDs that are already in existence, Downtown Jackson Partners has been a great success,” he said. “The Fondren BID has been a great success, and we certainly think that [this] could be very successful.”

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