Mayor delivers State of The City Address
By Othor Cain
In a more than 40 minute-speech, Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. declared, “The state of the city is good.”
“I’ve made promises to the citizens of Jackson, and I’ve kept those promises to the citizens of Jackson, and I’m not done yet,” Johnson said during his State of the City address, Wednesday, July 11. “So I ask you to keep this in mind – there’s rhetoric and then there’s a record. And we cannot afford for Jackson to get off track again. I promise the citizens of Jackson more accessibility, and I’m keeping that promise.”
Johnson detailed, to applause, the business climate in Jackson and noted that the city was open for business. In part, he highlighted these accomplishments:
• Mississippi Baptist Health Systems is spending $57 million to expand their hospital on North State Street.
• The city provided nearly $700,000 in grants to around 80 businesses over the past few years, creating or retaining around 700 jobs.
• The city broke ground last month on a $10.1 million project to overhaul Fortification Street.
Recently, Puckett Machinery, one of Jackson’s oldest businesses, announced it was closing its doors and moving to neighboring Flowood, in part according to the owners, because of crime and a less than stellar business climate in Jackson.
Bob Crechale, owner of Crechale’s Restaurant, told 16 WAPT that over the last 56 years, he has seen a lot of changes, and business could be better.
“In my business here, you have to be coming to me to get here,”
Crechale said. “There’s no other reason to be over here, except to come eat with me if you’re one of my customers.”
That’s because, he said, the Highway 80 corridor is in sore need of new development.
Johnson also tackled crime during his annual address. “I promised to have three recruit classes this year, and we just graduated the third one last week,” he said. “I am as concerned and as frustrated as citizens are when violent crime occurs. This violence has many factors, some social in nature, but we cannot allow these crimes to go on and to disrupt the very fiber of our community.”
Johnson encouraged every citizen to get involved with the city’s effort to combat violent crime. “I will be calling on every segment of this community to get involved as we look to develop solutions that we can work together to curb senseless crime,” he said.
To read the mayor’s state of the city address in its entirety or view his speech, visit our website at www.themississippilink.com