Anyone who has lived in Jackson for a while, and gotten involved even marginally in the community, knows that there is no shortage of ideas on how to improve our city floating around. Sometimes it seems that everyone has a plan, or at least an ambitious thought. And we have creative, determined people here who care about our future, and that passion goes a long way.
But let's face it: The ideas aren't always, well, good. Often, they're not feasible or cost too much or rely on the same pool of public money that umpteen other projects want to share. They're not always vetted well, or compared to best practices in other parts of the country to see what worked and what didn't. They often don't get enough community feedback early enough in the process.
Sometimes, they're even ideas that haven't worked and that have lingered because some people wouldn't let them go—or were brought back with little study of why they didn't work in the first place. Or, worse, past elected officials tabled a great idea, and it is sitting in someone's desk gathering dust.
We think there is a better way for Jackson warriors to make a difference.
Jackson needs to be a city where all good ideas, big and small, are encouraged. We also must be mature enough as a community to demand and welcome full discussion of all projects, including from dissenters who might not agree with a particular idea or folks who simply have questions that should be answered. And we must be open to shelving ambitious plans that prove too expensive or feasible and moving to the next idea on the list, or changing an idea to make it work for more people. Building a great city is a messy, fruitful process.
We need to hear questions and concerns early in development processes—when ideas are still on the drawing table and certainly before any public money is committed. A strong city is possible when passionate people can sit around a table and brainstorm, disagree, question, vet, and turn the idea inside out and upside down. All must be welcome at that table—and even more so when even one dollar of public money is needed.
This GOOD Ideas issue is dedicated to the idea that many different people have great ideas to contribute about our city. We may not agree or disagree with every idea, but we urge you to consider, debate and vet all of these ideas, and come up with your own.
The Jackson Free Press will soon launch a series of community forums to discuss ideas for the city and to give you-the-stakeholder a chance to be heard. We urge you to ask real questions and leave the ego at the house (as should the idea generators).
Many of the best ideas in history have resulted from a group of people brainstorming ways to make a flawed idea better. Or finding something better to replace it with—which often happens in early discussion phases.
Building a great city takes all of us.
Let's get started. Before you read about the ideas in the pages ahead, do some brainstorming of your own and fill in the circles on this page with your own ideas for Jackson. When you're done, head to jfp.ms/jacksonideas and share an image of your map, post your ideas or comment on others'.
Your voice is welcome.
Vision 2022: A Regional Vision
Big Ideas: Getting Jacksonians into City Parks
Revisited: Town Creek
Defined: People's Assemblies
New Idea: More Than Sports
Bright Idea: Conserve Energy, Create Jobs
Filling the Emptiness
Your JXN Idea
Best Practice: Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum
What the Heck Is An IBA?
Radical Idea: Vacancy Tax
Build a Bicycle- and Pedestrian-Friendly Jackson
Everyone Needs a Roof
Jackson Planning Map