Mississippi Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Andy Gipson announced in August that work had finished five months ahead of schedule on renovations to the Mississippi Coliseum at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds, partially due to event cancellations from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Wier Boerner Allin Architecture designed the $2.2-million renovation project, which began in October 2019 and was originally planned to finish by January 2021. Renovations included repairing and painting floors and walls with abrasive, slip-resistant paint, installing new seating, and adding handrails and reflectors.
The Mississippi Coliseum is attached to the new Mississippi Trade Mart building. The state Legislature consolidated the Mississippi Fair Commission into the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce effective July 1, 2020.
Visit mdac.ms.gov/bureaus-departments/state-fairgrounds to learn more.
Sunshine for All Program
The fruit-supplying company Dole launched its "Sunshine for All" program in Jackson in August. The program aims to provide better nutrition for 1 billion people in underserved communities by 2025.
As part of the program, Dole will partner with Jackson-based food organization Up in Farms to support their farm-to-table training center. Dole will also distribute fresh produce and smoothies to areas in Jackson that are considered food deserts, meaning they lack easy access to grocery stores and healthy foods.
The Sharing the Sunshine Meals & Nutrition Education Program will provide educational courses for children and families on healthy cooking and affordable shopping for healthy food, as well as cooking classes for adults. Dole will also host a Kids Cooking Camp to provide hands-on lessons in basic food preparation for children.
Dole will also host pop-up farmers markets and provide healthy meals on alternating weekends at Boys and Girls Club locations in Jackson.
Local organizations participating in the Sunshine for All program include the Fertile Ground Project, the Jackson Public Schools Administration and the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
JXN Icons Mural
Visit Jackson officially unveiled the "JXN Icons" mural at the Old Capitol Inn (226 N. State St.) in July.
The mural, which Visit Jackson's Creative Design Manager Reshonda Perryman, created, is on the back wall of the Old Capitol Inn facing the front entrance of the Two Mississippi Museums in downtown Jackson.
It depicts civil-rights leader and NAACP field officer Medgar Evers; writer and photographer Eudora Welty; USA IBC founder and American ballet dancer Thalia Mara; and musician and philanthropist David Banner.
For information, visit discoverjxn.ms/news/jxnicons or visitjackson.com.
Groundbreaking for Museum to Market Trail
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba and other officials hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Museum to Market multi-use path in July.
In 2011, the City of Jackson received a $1.1-million federal grant through the Mississippi Department of Transportation and the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District to construct the planned walking, running and biking trail.
The Museum to Market Trail will include construction of 2.14 miles of new multi-use path or replacement sidewalk from the Mississippi Farmers Market on High Street to the Mississippi Children's Museum on Highland Drive.
The $1,579,850 project also includes a new pedestrian bridge over a creek and the conversion of an abandoned railway into a compliant 10-foot-wide multi-use path from Spengler Street to Laurel Street.
The Federal Highway Administration and the Mississippi Department of Transportation funded the project. Residents can follow the progress of the project on the museum trail's Facebook page.
Road Repair and Repaving
Thirteen Jackson streets are on a repaving list for 2020, Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba announced in July, as part of an effort to reverse the degrading of road infrastructure in the City. The streets include Canton Mart Road, Old Canton Road, Northside Drive, Pear Orchard Road, Lakeland Drive, N. Gallatin Street, Jefferson Street, Bailey Avenue, Ellis Avenue, Belvedere Drive, McDowell Road and Oak Forest Drive.
The One Percent Sales Tax Commission, which administers a 1% sales tax increase Jackson voters approved in 2014, is funding the repaving, which will cost $5.3 million.
Mayor Lumumba's administration has, in the last three years, poured $15 million into "south Jackson alone" to repair bridges and repave roads, he said.
Russell C. Davis Planetarium Renovations Ahead
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba announced renovations to the Russell C. Davis Planetarium in July.
A roof leak and the resulting interior damage forced the planetarium to close in April 2018. With the damage repaired, the City is preparing to renovate the building for the first time in 40 years and plans to reopen the planetarium by April 2022.
The planetarium ran a fundraising campaign and sold limited-edition merchandise to raise money for design work, exhibition design and build-out.
For more information on renovation efforts for the planetarium, visit yourplanetarium.com.
Andrew Jackson Statue at City Hall Being Replaced
In August, the Jackson City Council authorized Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba to legally remove and relocate the statue of former President Andrew Jackson from City Hall.
Mayor Lumumba said he supports the move and wants a newly commissioned statue of Medgar Evers as the replacement. Evers, a civil-rights hero, lived in Jackson before his assassination in 1963. Jackson, on the other hand, was a white supremacist who led the removal of Native Americans from their lands.
The resolution passed 5-1, with Ward 1 Councilman Ashby Foote as the lone opposition and Ward 4 Councilman De'Keither Stamps absent.
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