Cohesive Jackson Street downtown plan up for bid
RIDGELAND — Design services in a long-running plan to establish and enhance Jackson Street and the surrounding area known as the Railroad District are being sought.
The goal is to make Jackson Street a cohesive downtown area, Mayor Gene F. McGee said, and officials expect the work to being in early 2022.
He hopes a master plan will lay out a path to make the area pedestrian-friendly and offer on-street parking as well certain aesthetic details like outside speakers that play seasonal music and string lighting across the street overhead.
McGee said the city will begin advertising for bids for design services next week.
The planning process will include stakeholder and community engagement and recommendations for improvements to the mixed-use corridor, officials said.
When all bids are in, a committee consisting of McGee, Aldermen Ken Heard, Wesley Hamlin and Chuck Gautier as well as Director of Community Development and Public Works Alan Hart can start making decisions related to the project.
The committee also includes Community Development employees Jordan Lohman and Bryan Johnson.
“This project is in its early stages,” Hart said. “We have only been authorized to advertise for proposals. The Mayor and Board of Aldermen will determine how much can be budgeted once we select the best consultant for our project.”
McGee said he hopes this will create a neat business community.
The committee and permission to advertise for bids for design services were unanimously approved a the Oct. 19 regular city board meeting on the consent agenda.
Hart echoed the Mayor’s goals and said they hope to begin putting pen to paper on plans and designs as early as the beginning of next year.
“The Mayor and Board of Aldermen are hopeful to create a Master Plan for the Railroad District along Jackson Street that focuses on sense of place and quality improvements,” Hart said. “It is our desire to make this area along Jackson Street more pedestrian-oriented to become an even more popular place for shopping, gathering and dining. We are hopeful to have a consultant engaged in early 2022.”