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Posted on: July 6, 2020

Learn about the proposed MLK Corridor Improvement Authority

A block of buildings on MLK Drive in Jackson

A Jackson neighborhood could see big improvements in the coming years. The Jackson City Council will soon consider officially establishing the MLK Corridor Improvement Authority for Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Prospect Street in Jackson’s south side neighborhood. If approved, the improvement authority could bring new businesses, housing, landscaping, and infrastructure to the area. 

The main goal of the Corridor Improvement Authority is to promote the revitalization and redevelopment of the MLK Drive and Prospect Street commercial corridors. This will be done through the creation of a nine member board that will oversee and implement the use of tax dollars from the authority district to revitalize the area. It’s important to note that this is not a new tax or assessment that residents and businesses will pay. The authority would capture part of the existing tax dollars created in the district and re-investment the money to improve the area. Proposed improvements are likely to include more commercial businesses, mixed use developments, housing, landscaping, infrastructure and pedestrian access. 

Boundaries of the planned improvement authority are S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive from Downtown Jackson to the City Limits at W. South Street and Prospect Street in its entirety from Fourth Street to Cooper Street. Commercial properties along the MLK Equality Trail, Jackson’s main pedestrian trail, are also included in the improvement authority. 

The MLK Corridor Improvement Authority was proposed by Mayor Derek Dobies and Vice Mayor Arlene Robinson at the July council meeting. Vice Mayor Arlene Robinson, who represents this neighborhood on the City Council, says the creation of the improvement authority will ensure tax dollars are used to improve the neighborhood. “Our current businesses and residents will benefit from a more dense commercial district.  We want residents to understand this is something that will help and not hurt the community,” Vice Mayor Robinson said. 

Mayor Derek Dobies says City leaders have been dedicated to revitalizing Jackson’s south side. “So far this year, we’ve seen a new public park created along MLK Drive and a $2.5 million road construction project underway. That’s just the start of good things to come for the south side neighborhood as we move forward with the improvement authority,” Mayor Dobies said.

The next step in officially creating the MLK Corridor Improvement Authority is the council voting on a resolution and ordinance that officially creates the improvement authority. That vote is expected in the coming months. City administration still has to create the framework for improvement authority and appoint members before work can begin.  

A public hearing was held on the proposed improvement authority at the Aug. 11 City Council meeting. A virtual town hall meeting that explained the authority plans was held in July. A recording of that meeting is available on this page. An online presentation that was used in the town hall meeting is available online. 

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