‘Downtown’By NIKKI ROWELL,
Mayor McGee aims for pedestrian-friendly West Jackson Street
It’s no secret that West Jackson Street is Ridgeland’s designated “downtown” area.
However, Mayor Gene McGee would like to see some changes along the street to enhance the downtown feel residents have come to associate with the area.
Some of his ideas include on-street parking, special lighting, special treatment at intersections and much more.
“We think that will make it more friendly for pedestrians, walking and parking and all of that,” McGee said. “Right now, you have a lot of through traffic on Jackson Street.”
The goal is to make it easier for pedestrians to navigate the shops, restaurants and other businesses that call West Jackson Street home.
The area has been on the grow since 2006, when the addition of Olde Towne brought in 50,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
Some business owners in the area are looking forward to these changes.
Keith Kinkade, owner of Kinkade’s clothing store located on West Jackson Street, is excited for what’s to come in downtown Ridgeland.
Kinkade’s has been located on West Jackson Street for the past 10 years.
“We’ve seen West Jackson Street develop into a great destination for shopping, eating and just strolling through,” Kinkade said. “We are excited about the mayor’s plans to enhance the area even more.
“Business owners strive to make this a perfect destination for shopping and customers who become friends,” Kinkade added.
Not only is West Jackson Street popular for its shopping, but Kinkade said it is a great spot for local restaurants.
“The local restaurants here add a touch of flair with enhancements to their menus,” Kinkade said.
He said they are happy with their tenure on West Jackson Street and are looking forward to what’s to come.
Drew Creel, owner of Krilakis, a Greek restaurant located off West Jackson Street, said that all of the improvements and changes in the downtown area have had only positive effects on his business.
“I’m sure that all of this would help us. I don’t see any negative in it at all,” Creel said. “We have a strong clientele. Our parking is not the greatest, but our customers are very understanding, and they find a way to get here.”
Creel’s restaurant has been located in the same spot for the past eight years.
“I think it’s going to be great,” Creel said. “We had some pains during the time they were working on the road. Now that its clear, business is back to how it was.”
He said the recent road work on West Jackson Street was the only time the restaurant has slowed down, but in the weeks after construction was complete the business has only benefited from it.
“We’re pleased with everything they’re doing around here,” he said. “We’ve been here for eight years now, and things have just improved.”
The positive impact in the area has led to retail growth, which Creel said has only added to the ambiance of the area.
Part of that downtown feel can be attributed to the building style and look of the area, which was outlined in the West Jackson Street overlay district ordinance that was adopted in 1995.
The ordinance was intended to promote a historically relevant commercial district and establish the “turn of the century” character of the district to increase the aesthetic and visual qualities as well as property values.
Olde Towne will also be home to a new mural, which is part of a service project of the MadArts Leadership Madison County team.
Brandon Meeks Agency Shelter Insurance is providing the wall space for the mural to be painted on the building at 180 West Jackson Street at the corner of North Central Avenue.
Wireless Wizard Ridgeland Cell Phone Repair will provide the paint and painting supplies for this community project.