From Stadiums to Small Biz

Jackson State University will soon officially unveil plans for a new stadium to replace the one on University of Mississippi property. The university recently made a presentation to policy-makers about a new multi-purpose athletic facility.

Jackson State University will soon officially unveil plans for a new stadium to replace the one on University of Mississippi property. The university recently made a presentation to policy-makers about a new multi-purpose athletic facility. Photo by Trip Burns.

Jackson State University will soon officially unveil plans for a new stadium. The university recently made a presentation to policy-makers about a new multi-purpose athletic facility.

State Sen. Kenneth Wayne Jones, D-Canton, attended the meeting and told the Jackson Free Press that preliminary plans include a 50,000-seat state-of-the-art domed stadium that can accommodate sporting events as well as serve as a concert venue.

Jones said that he would work to secure JSU's request for $75 million from the state to help pay for the $200 million stadium, which would sit on one of four sites JSU is considering.

"I think the presentation was excellent. I commend them on their forward thinking," Jones said.

Eric Stringfellow, JSU's communications director, declined to comment about the stadium proposal when contacted Tuesday morning, but said the university plans to hold a news conference Feb. 27 to make a major announcement.

In 2011, the Legislature transferred control of 60,000-seat Veterans Memorial Stadium to Jackson State on the condition that ownership would transfer the land to University of Mississippi Medical Center when JSU builds a new stadium.

JSU's isn't the capital city's only stadium idea in the works, however. In late January, the city of Jackson released the results of a $109,000 feasibility study for a new downtown arena. The proposed arena could hold between 9,000 and 12,000 people, depending on the event, with the possibility of future expansion for up to 15,000. The arena could also serve as a venue for multiple entertainment events, including sporting events, concerts, ice shows and others.

The big question mark is whether Jackson needs, or can support, two brand new sports arenas.

Jackson City Council President and Ward 6 Councilman Tony Yarber saw JSU's presentation and said the city is ready to help the university however it can.

Yarber was dubious whether Jackson needs dual arenas, and said the findings of the city-commissioned study could help justify the need--and economic benefits--of a Jackson State arena. He said a new stadium would enhance JSU's west Jackson campus and add jobs to the area.

Small Business Analysis

A new state-by-state report released today by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy shows that Mississippi employed 436,996 workers in 2010 with most of the employment coming from firms with 20 to 499 employees.

The Small Business Profile for the States and Territories found that overall self-employment in Mississippi declined over the last decade, while minority self-employment saw growth.

Mississippi's 240,378 small businesses represent 96.5 percent of all employers and employ 49.5 percent of the private-sector labor force. Nationwide, 27.8 million small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employers and employ 49.1 percent of the private-sector labor force.

Cafe Open

Downtown Cafe opened for business Monday, Feb. 18, on the site of the former Miller's Grill at 224 E. Capitol St. In addition to po-boys, daily plate-lunch specials and the restaurant's signature chicken and waffles, owner and head chef Aubrey Norman Jr. has a vision for the new location that includes seafood and a unique take on the fine dining experience. 2013 marks Downtown Cafe's second year in business.

Chef Norman recently received the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau's Hometown Hero Award for his work promoting tourism and inspiring entrepreneurship. He began his culinary career working in hotels and was the general manager at the Steam Room Grille for four years until it closed in 2010.

Whole Foods Visit

Whole Foods Market South's regional buyers visited the Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum (1150 Lakeland Drive) in Jackson Monday, Feb. 18, to meet local farmers and producers. More than 90 producers attended the event, in which Whole Foods Market provided details on how to become a vendor for the market.

Whole Foods Market opens this fall at Highland Village shopping center, 4500 Interstate 55 N., in Jackson.

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