Costco Detractors Want Restraining Order on City | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Costco Detractors Want Restraining Order on City

Council President De'Keither Stamps delayed a Lakeland rezoning matter to Oct. 20, possibly due to a temporary restraining order.

Council President De'Keither Stamps delayed a Lakeland rezoning matter to Oct. 20, possibly due to a temporary restraining order. Photo by Trip Burns.

At the Jackson City Council zoning meeting Monday, the council tabled discussion of the rezoning of parcels on Lakeland Drive where the city wants to put Costco. The city proposed the rezoning of the area, which is currently zoned for parks and recreation, in August after a long struggle to get the big-box retailer to the City of Jackson.

While council President De'Keither Stamps told those in attendance that the Lakeland discussion would be pushed to Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. due to time constraints, local attorney Tom Starling coincidentally had requested a temporary restraining order Monday morning to stop the council rezoning the property to allow Costco.

Chancery Judge Dwayne Thomas granted the TRO the same day. It prohibits the city from proceeding forward with the case rezoning parcel 444-2 and a portion of parcel 444-9 which fall within Ward 1 and Ward 7. "It was done primarily so it wouldn't be considered in yesterday's meeting," Starling said, adding that while he does not know for sure, he believes the city did not discuss the Lakeland case because of the TRO.

The city's planning board already rejected the zoning request 6-3 with one abstention on Aug. 27, but Mayor Tony Yarber said the city council can accept or reject in whole or in part the recommendation made by the planning board, thus clearing the way for the Costco.

Starling said the city failed by not publishing and giving adequate notice for a public hearing to discuss the rezoning. "Here, the comprehensive ordinance says they will hold a public hearing after adequate notice, so that's what we're asking them to do," Starling said.

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Comments

Duan 6 years, 2 months ago

I really want Costco to come to Jackson - just not at that proposed site?

We have tons of vacant commercial property across the city and county that would serve Costco well and where they can thrive.

Since Hinds county is a wet county - they could open a location in South Jackson, Byram, Terry area and one in North Jackson.

I just don't understand why its so much harder to find a happy medium on this?

They would never pull this stunt in a bigger city and its a shame they threatening to pull out of Jackson, if they do not get that specific location.

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Jackson31 6 years, 2 months ago

I've commented before on JFP to voice my opposition to building Costco in the vicinity of Smith-Wills and the park next to it. I think that, for many reasons, it's a poor choice of a site for a Costco, and I'm glad that there are people making sure the city publicly outlines its plans for a Costco rather than approving said plans quietly and secretively. That said, as a Jacksonian, I want to both preserve our public lands and develop the areas already zoned for commercial use. It would be great if Costco could find a different location within our fair city, and it is frustrating that the mayor, as quoted in another JFP article, basically said the site was non-negotiable because Costco said it's non-negotiable. Is Costco in charge of our city? If I say I want to build a gas station in Laurel Park in Belhaven and that it's non-negotiable, would the city simply say, "Oh, okay, if that's where you insist on putting it, that's fine." Of course they wouldn't. Why, then, do they insist that we have to capitulate to Costco's every whim? And on another note, I would like to know which developer is pushing the Costco project. Costco had to have recruited or been courted by someone who told them the city's public land is available. JFP has done some great reporting on the Costco issue, and I hope that they dig into that question, as it might also tell us what to expect if the land is re-zoned and Costco doesn't come. Who would be in charge of developing it then, and what would they put there? I don't for one moment believe that Costco came up with the idea of locating at Smith-Wills on their own. Someone may well have told them it was available, and I'd like to know how that someone benefits from the project. In the meantime, Costco, I would enthusiastically welcome you to Jackson, but please pick a different site to develop.

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NewJackson 6 years, 2 months ago

Its a shame that both of you are being naive in this matter, if they dont locate Jackson31 just rezone it back to the way it was before. This Land that yall speak of doesn't have a house close to it, so will the people stop acting like their homes will be affected. There is no other piece of land in Jackson, it won't be as successful in south Jackson or west Jackson so please stop acting like yall dont know that. Smith Will Land is not a holy cow, cities change all the time and zoning changes too, you grow with the times and Smith Wills is old and the land is wayy underused. If this was a bigger city then they might not need to do this because there would be more land and more progressive minded people. I would rather them rezone then lose this business all together. The so called residents and people opposing this isn't that important enough to hold back jobs and taxes that Jackson needs.

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sophiemae 6 years, 2 months ago

Once again, the 20% want to overlook the needs of the City for their own personal comfort. Costco, like any other multi-billion dollar corporation, conducts very thorough SWOT analyses before they move into a new market. Their objective is to maximize their profits and they chose the site that would best serve their interests, like any other business would do. The City on the other hand, needs to increase its tax base, create some living wage jobs (Costco would bring about 200), and provide some quality retail for its citizens. This is a no-brainier. There is plenty of green space in that area already. And if you want businesses to locate in other areas of Jackson, please tell the media to stop reporting so much crime and negativity , and to highlight some of the positive things that are happening in the City.

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js1976 6 years, 2 months ago

"Costco, like any other multi-billion dollar corporation, conducts very thorough SWOT analyses before they move into a new market"

Wal-Mart would be one of those multi-billion dollar corporations that does a thorough market analysis, yet we see empty Wal-Mart locations all across the country.

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Jackson31 6 years, 2 months ago

NewJackson and Sophiemae, thanks for your thoughts. I think that it's important, as the JFP has noted, to have a debate on this issue. That way we can hammer out what's best for Jackson. Regarding the land use, the proposed re-zoning includes almost all of the public land green space in the immediate vicinity of Smith-Wills (except for the Ag. Museum). It also includes some land across Lakeland Drive from Smith-Wills. The mayor has said (per JFP) that the Costco could be built in the Memorial Field in front of Smith-Wills, which means he's arguing that the park beside the stadium and the stadium itself are not needed. Why, then, does the city intend to re-zone that land, if not to build other as-yet-unnamed facilities there? The park beside Smith-Wills is, in fact, immediately across the street from a neighborhood, a nursing home and an apartment complex. So, contrary to popular belief, there is a residential community with an immediate interest in what happens to the park. They were not, as was noted at the planning board meeting and is apparently being taken to court, notified in advance that the park was jeopardized. Indeed, their very existence seems to have been ignored. Also, as to Smith-Wills and the Memorial Field itself, the museums in the area appear to be strongly opposed to a Costco being built at that site, as I think they correctly perceive that it will be out-of-character with the museum district. Instead of scenic museums like Chicago has in Grant Park, you would have museums buried amidst commercial development--development, in fact, that would interfere with functions held at and near the museums. Finally, in regard to the concern that only the elite 20% are selfishly trying to protect their personal comfort on this issue, I hold that Jackson as a whole needs to debate the way public lands are used. My understanding is that some of this land belongs to the city and its citizens. I live in the area, do not have a lot of money, and am certainly not elite. I like the park, would like to save it, and since it seems to be public land, have as much right as even the richest developer to opine how it should be used. And so do all citizens of Jackson. They have a right to voice their opinions on this issue, and as they do so, I would suggest that they come to the park in question, have a picnic and find out why people like me value our city's public lands.

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NewJackson 6 years, 2 months ago

Jackson31 stop assuming that its a rich developer involved, if you can't name the developer than stop implying. The museum district was just formed last year so its not an old organization that been there fighting for the area long. Answer this, does Rick Cleveland or the other museum directors stay in Jackson?? How do they know what's best for a city they dont call home. The land your refer to across the street is land the state wanted to rezone so dont include that in your argument against the city.

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NewJackson 6 years, 2 months ago

You can go to lefleur bluff and have a picnic. You know Costco wants this land and no other so why are you acting like we can choose another site.

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tstauffer 6 years, 2 months ago

Hey NewJackson -- we welcome your participation but please keep from getting personal in your comments. Our rule here is to "disagree agreeably." Rick Cleveland does live in Jackson, and I think we can assume that all of the museum folks are very invested in Jackson because they have placed their time, energy and in many cases their own money in those investments in Jackson's attractions and infrastructure.

Like all of y'all I do welcome and appreciate the debate.

I will say that I personally have some reservations similar to Jackson31 -- it's hard to imagine a Costco going into that location and not attracting fast food, auto repair, gas stations and other retail; it seems to be a pretty rare situation where you'd see one big box retailer and absolutely nothing else around it.

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Jackson31 6 years, 2 months ago

NewJackson, perhaps I should not have insinuated that a rich developer is pushing the project, since I don't know for certain. I would like JFP to check further into the parties involved in the re-zoning on both sides, but you are correct, I don't know if a rich developer is part of the situation. As for the land across Lakeland from Smith-Wills, the city caused confusion at the planning board meeting by including that land with the rest of the re-zoning request even after the state asked that it not be considered at that time. Since the city, independently of the state, asked that the land be re-zoned, I think it's fair to mention that land when discussing Smith-Wills. As for the museums, the district may have formed last year, but the museums (with the exception of the Children's Museum) have been around for years and, in my opinion, contribute a lot to Jackson. The Children's Museum is newer but also contributes, and I, for one, think these museums are integral to the city's identity. As for whether the directors live here, their museums are here and the success of those museums depends on Jackson's success. So I think the directors have the city's interests at heart at least as much as Costco, which has had no prior experience with Jackson or its people. As for Costco, I would welcome a Costco to the city and bear them no ill will, but I disagree with the site selection and think it's fair for Jacksonians to debate the issue. I don't want anyone's personal biases, including my own, to cloud the issue too much, and for that reason, debate is good. Thanks for offering arguments for the other side. The city too could contribute to that debate by making their plans clearer and, perhaps, compromise by downsizing their re-zoning request to only what is needed for Costco. I would still disagree with the site selection, but at least the issues would be easier to discuss. I will say, though, that if this is literally the last piece of land available for a business of Costco's size in Jackson, then our city is lost whether or not Costco comes. For my part, I hope and believe that Jackson has more resources than this one piece of land whatever happens in regard to Costco.

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Duan 6 years, 2 months ago

@Sophiemae - how would you like a Wal-Mart or Sam's in Central Park? Better yet on South Beach in Miami? Imagine in the historic district of Washington Heights in Houston?

Jackson31 has made several strong arguments - but look at the vast wasted retail development in West Jackson?

Regardless of Costco's SWOT analysis, there's no guarantee on longevity or success at any given location? So if Costco's stock went bottom-up in 10 years, you are stuck with a shell of a former business!

I am a taxpaying resident of Jackson, Mississippi and I am sick and tired of seeing empty retail establishments all around this city!

We need to redevelop/rehabilitate old commercial sites.

We need to maintain established residential areas, as just that - residential areas!

The only time you want new retail establishments is when you are going to undeveloped areas.

You have to look at the aesthetics of an area and see how pieces fit in place.

That is an established area for LeFleur's Bluff and museum district - you will kill all that with big box commercial development.

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NewJackson 6 years, 2 months ago

That's not personal that's asking a question and thank you for answering. Like I said they can zone how they want and allow what they want and restrict what they dont. The museum district is at best a nice area for the city but it hasn't been a boon for the city. And Jackson31 you say leave out personal biases lets start with yours first.

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RayHolmes 6 years, 2 months ago

I grew up in Jackson but moved to Twin Falls Idaho a few years ago. We have only 40,000 population here but we have had a huge Costco here for years. Does booming business. My point being, they could put one ANYWHERE in a city the size of Jackson and make money. They are just trying to hold you up to get their way. Don't worry, they will still open, just hopefully, not at that spot. There is to much money to be made not to.

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Knowledge06 6 years, 2 months ago

Interesting opinions on this subject with very good points. Mine is simple. I'm a tax paying Jackson resident and would welcome Costco at the site they want. I realize there are other sites that WE want but obviously that's their choice. You see retail developments in the surrounding communities sitting across the street from residential neighborhoods and it's working for them. The museum district (as it is called) serves a purpose but Costco would serve a more valuable purpose. The few have always dictated much with just the few benefiting. In this case, the many will benefit with Costco in Jackson at that location.

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multiculturegirl37 6 years, 2 months ago

What "museum district" we don't have one. We have a stadium barely in use, a park and green space. I am for green space and I am for parks. I don't give a care about keeping the stadium it's a cash drain on the city. I care much more about promoting jobs and economic growth in Jackson. The other poster is right Costco will open somewhere else, just not in Jackson.

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Jackson31 6 years, 2 months ago

After seeing RayHolmes' remarks above, I dug into the population statistics for Costco locations. He is correct. Costco seems to function in towns smaller than Jackson, though many of them are in large metropolitan statistical areas. A few examples of Costco locations: Eagle County, CO (population 52,000), Gallatin County, MT (population 89,000), town of Winchester, VA (when combined with surrounding Frederick County, population approximately 100,000). I have not had time to research how many people regionally each of these Costcos serve, but at the very least, it seems to suggest some flexibility for Costco locations--as RayHolmes noted. Costco probably is not bound by sheer logistical necessity to any one spot in Jackson, and I would hope that there are other Jackson locations where they could be successful. To be fair, the population statistics at other Costcos also mean a store could be successful in any of Jacksons' suburbs too, which means we aren't guaranteed they will come here. So the city simply has to decide whether to get rid of some of our public lands and ask Costco to build in the Smith-Wills area or whether we should encourage Costco to choose a different Jackson location. I argue in favor of finding a different location in Jackson, but that's something we, as the citizens of the city, have to decide.

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Jackson31 6 years, 2 months ago

As a follow-up to my previous comment, I also wanted to note that Costco's website suggests most Costcos include gas stations for members and Costco cash card holders only, and a quick Internet search of Costco gas station controversies indicates that Costco is willing to lobby communities for the right to build a gas station. So if a Costco comes to the Smith-Wills stadium area, even if the city initially zones the site to prevent gas stations, I think that we, as Jacksonians, need to be prepared for the idea that Costco might eventually seek to build a gas station at the site and pave the way for additional re-zoning. Whether the city approves a Costco at Smith-Wills or not, and whether it's a good idea or not, it's good for us to go into this debate with our eyes wide open. I've made my opposition clear and don't think this is a good way to use our public lands (especially the park) near Smith-Wills, but I still think that debate is healthy and needed to ultimately decide what the best path for our city is.

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NewJackson 6 years, 2 months ago

Jackson31 if they wanted to be in the suburbs first they would have came out and said, hey we are going to flowood. This park you talk about and public land is owned by the taxpayers of Jackson so if the majority of taxpayers in Jackson want Costco to locate there where is their say in the matter. When you post I am a tax paying citizen of Jackson what importance does that have over any other citizen of Jackson. Not accusing you of this but I find to often white Mississippians love throwing that out like they are the only people who pay taxes and or they are the only people who have say on matters because they pay taxes, sounds like some old only land owning white men can vote type stuff to me. All Jacksonians pay taxes that contribute to the city, tags, tickets etc not just property taxes. And you say it could go in the suburbs too, well we rather have it in Jackson and they want to locate at that location. I looked at google map and saw the location, its a big location and its empty and costing the city money not making the city money. I think you don't see the bigger picture then some park and stadium that is rarely used. And to imply they may not come so we shouldn't act is the type of thinking that's has Jackson behind now. Yall may not care about driving miles for shopping and all but Jackson residents are tired of wasting gas and being harassed going into the suburbs, we can't dictate where they want to locate so work with a business that wants to locate in the city and stop acting like we have options.

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NewJackson 6 years, 2 months ago

Its btw its already two gas stations on Lakeland in in that area, so has those gas stations corrupted the area. You act like we should do nothing because the possibilty of an influx of other things. The planning board was appointed by past administrations and not voted in by the people. Let the city council who was voted in by the people decide. Now the opposition to jobs and new tax revenue for the city has hired a lawyer, these people opposing this are the old guard of Jackson, smh. "Power concedes nothing without a demand, it never has and it never will" Frederick Douglas"

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Jackson31 6 years, 2 months ago

NewJackson, I understand your concern, and believe me, though I don't want them at the Smith-Wills location, I would welcome a Costco in Jackson. I think you and I both care for Jackson; it is a wonderful place with so, so much potential. I think that potential includes the public land around Smith-Wills which is used and can be used for so much--festivals, sports, museums, and other things that contribute to the wonder of our city. I want debate over Costco because I just want to make sure that we don't lose some of the beauty in our city without carefully considering the matter. Maybe I'm wrong in my opposition to developing Smith-Wills and maybe I'm not; that's where debate is useful, and I welcome it. I'm afraid you misunderstand who I am however. If it matters to you, I am a white citizen of Jackson, but I'm not a homeowner. I don't play up that fact because I know some could argue that not being a homeowner gives me less of a place at the debate table than if I was. I'm also not currently connected to any of the other opposition to Costco, though I might like to be should opportunity arise. I simply value the park, Smith-Wills, the museums, LeFleur's Bluff, etc. partly because I live near them at the moment and partly because I think they're good for the city. For those of us who can't easily join country clubs or build summer homes (though there's nothing wrong with that), these areas give us at least the opportunity of outdoor and educational enjoyment without having to travel outside the city. I want the city to be careful before it gives that up for what might or might not prove a successful development. For me, and I suspect others, this area--the parks, the museums, the festivals, the ball fields--have contributed to our lives in positive ways not to be measured simply in terms of property value. I know the city needs new businesses to maintain its existence, and I think it important that we create a welcoming environment for those businesses, but I also ask that we preserve places in our city that are not strictly commercial in nature too.

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Knowledge06 6 years, 2 months ago

NewJackson, you heard the same type of complaining when the McDonald's on the corner of lakeland and ridgewood was proposed. None of those stated issues came to pass. The majority of the residents of Jackson have no problem with the Costco at the proposed location. Jackson needs to move forward!

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NewJackson 6 years, 2 months ago

Jackson31 I've seen Jackson lose businesses and miss out on businesses because of fights, if Costco dont locate there and move to another city i will be disappointed that a barely used stadium and park is still standing after this fight. Smh Costco dont want all of the land and people in this city dont have a sense of urgency about this project. Its lime oh well if we lose jobs and taxes we still have a barely used park hooray!!!! SMH.

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NewJackson 6 years, 2 months ago

Knowledge I heard about the McDonalds opposition, the old guard dont care about Jackson being a growing city.

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LucyLu 6 years, 2 months ago

I think Costco is making a mistake about that location. People on that side of town do not need a Cosco. They have plenty of other places to shop. On the other hand, residents of midtown Jackson have to go far, far to one edge of town or another to get to a big store. We need the store in a more central location for Jackson residents. OR we need the buses to run later at night (plus better late night security) and more on the weekend. As for the jobs, will there be a clause in the contract that says the jobs must go to Jacksonians? There are as many non-Jacksonians over there as there are city residents. Finally, we need to plan for the 21st century--that means less spread out planning. Cosrco would be better off building in the city proper because we would be so grateful to have them because we don't have anyone else hardly.

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multiculturegirl37 6 years, 2 months ago

Oh New Jackson they care about Jackson's growth WHEN it's in areas that don't effect them. When we are talking about gentrifying other areas of the city many of the same people are all for it. They couldn't care less about "green space" or parks. None of that matters. Just business growth and what will appeal to people from the suburbs. So I think many of your concerns and points are very valid. That's not the only ball field in Jackson and it's not even the only park available in the area. Am I wrong? The main concern I've been hearing, mostly from white residents of the suburbs is concern about not having space to hold festivals. Point taken. However, that's not the only space available for festivals either. Something Jackson can do also is start returning some of these lands that aren't being redeveloped and are abandoned INTO green space. Detroit is doing it and so are other cities that have been affected by white flight. It is a process that has to be done with equity and justice in mind so as not to destroy neighborhoods and deny reinvestment but it also means adding to the beauty of our city.

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Duan 6 years, 2 months ago

As someone who's lived in NYC, Chicago, and Cleveland, Ohio - only in Jackson, Mississippi - would be people be perfectly comfortable with placing a big box retailer in the direct proximity of two museums (Ag and Sports Hall of Fame)!?

Look, the people that want to play the Costco at the location in question - don't live in Jackson and could care less about Jackson's future and how the city is shaped and designed, the only thing they care about is their bottom line and being a profitable company!

We already placed a Whole Foods smack dab across a McDades which is locally owned and added competition to Rainbow Co-op!

If there are a handful of people fighting the location - I have a good reason why I think that location is a poor choice.

I implore all you people who are championing the Smith-Wills location to click on this link and read this article about city planning and the importance of aesthetics

http://ashleysays.hubpages.com/hub/Th...">http://ashleysays.hubpages.com/hub/Th...

http://ashleysays.hubpages.com/hub/Th...">link text

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Knowledge06 6 years, 2 months ago

Duan, with all due respect, Jackson is NOT Chicago, NYC, or Cleveland. Jackson is a small Southern City that's creating it's own identity. Jackson is the smallest Capital City in the South and Mississippi is the smallest state in the South. We are unique in our location and in the Capital City's population. Therefore, we won't be like the places you and others compare us to. That's not a bad thing. Jackson is compared to the smaller suburbs whose populations are smaller than any ward in the City. Because of Jackson, ALL the suburbs exist. Not in spite of. There are no major jobs in the surrounding communities. They make their money in Jackson and live in the suburbs. But there are more of us who actually live and work in Jackson than all of the combined surrounding communities. If Costco wants to INVEST in Jackson in a location they feel will benefit them and the majority who live in Jackson, then kudos to them. As a South Jackson resident, I'm accustomed to driving to where I need to in the City in order to do some shopping. I realize that I live in a largely residential part of the City. I also realize that in order for the City to grow, choices have to be made in order to bring viable industry within our doors. In the end, Costco may not locate here but by doing our part we won't have any regrets as to what we should have done.

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js1976 6 years, 2 months ago

People, It's still just another big box store. Some of you act as if this is the saving grace for the City of Jackson. I live just a couple of miles down Madison Ave. from the new proposed Sam's location, and I would rather not have it. Leave it where it is so that a massive empty building isn't left sitting off of County Line.

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Duan 6 years, 2 months ago

@Knowledge06

First - I must compliment you for using the "06" behind the word knowledge! Those numerals very dear to me.

But you said some things that stood out

"we won't be like the places you and others compare us to."

How come? Pittsburgh is not a big city? Cincinnati is not a big city? New Orleans is not a big city?

But they are viable within their region! Jackson has as much potential as Birmingham, Mobile, Memphis, New Orleans who are players in the continental US.

Our population is growing at an astronomical rate - but we lack vision and focus.

We can't have that "slap it anywhere" mentality when it comes to shaping our cities infrastructure and design. It becomes part of your identity and heritage.

Jackson is pretty much established in regards to neighborhoods, cultural and historical values - our shopping areas, routes and logistics - we just need to rehabilitate whats already established!

Now Madison County and Rankin County - because of the empty spaces in those areas - you can definitely have that "slap it anywhere" mentality - because there's no history, identity or culture!

Jackson is your focal point for anything cultural - we've had quite a few festivals in that location, you have LeFleur park across the road, you have St. Dominic hospital right there - where you need traffic flow to be at a premium at ALL times.

You do not want to place a big box retailer at that location - when there are PLENTY of commercial locations that can support a big box store all across Jackson.

We should be focused on doing the following for Jackson when it comes to city planning!

  1. Creating a real sense of place, a sense of being somewhere unique and interesting, everywhere in the Jackson area

  2. Creating a perception and reality that development decisions are made fairly

  3. Creating a partnership with the surrounding suburbs so that we are consistent and focused on the metro - where we are united on development - establishing a system as such that tax incentives that are given by one suburb do not penalize other suburbs or Jackson

  4. Maintaining and preserving pristine open space within a short drive from the central city, without the intrusion of commercial developments in that area

  5. Eliminating the environmentally wasteful practice of tearing down older buildings and starting over - (Rehabilitate the commercial areas that are already established!)

  6. Realizing the public sector fiscal dividends of not investing in new infrastructure when the older infrastructure is available and under capacity. (Maintaining what's already established!)

I am standing firm on this - it will be a shame if Costco went to Rankin county - simply because a few of us have our concerns over their chosen location.

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js1976 6 years, 2 months ago

"Now Madison County and Rankin County - because of the empty spaces in those areas - you can definitely have that "slap it anywhere" mentality - because there's no history, identity or culture!"

I have a feeling that "slap it anywhere" mentality is going to hurt Flowood in the long run. It's as if there is zero planning involved in the development of that area.

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