A little while back, we asked those of you who wanted to spread the good news about West Jackson to send us a story to post. Heck, if you’re a photographer, send us a nice and positive West Jackson photo. Well, we finally got one!
Alexander Robinson, a undergraduate economics major at Jackson State University and a writer for the Blue & White Flash, graciously sent a story to us to be posted on the blog. We’ve already covered the grand opening of Express Cleaners, but we are so excited to have a volunteer that we figured “hey, why not post it again?” Besides, this one is written from Alexander’s perspective.
So check out the story below and feel free to leave some kind comments for this wonderful volunteer. Thanks Alexander!
P.S. If you’d like to submit a story to us, simply draft it and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. You get a double high five if you send pictures too!
On Thursday January 20, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the opening of Express Cleaners, the first business to open in One University Place, located on Dalton Street across from Jackson State University. Since its opening in October, One University Place has changed the landscape of Jackson State University and added new opportunities for West Jackson.
Kenneth O’Quinn, owner of Express Cleaners saw the right time for a business opportunity and did not hesitate to seize it.
” I saw a need for a cleaners and the development project was the right fit.”
O’Quinn also sees more opportunities as a result of the developments being undertaken by Jackson State. “The university is the driving force for the community” O’Quinn declared.
City Councilman Charles Tillman of Ward 5, the ward JSU is primarily situated upon, agrees with O’Quinn.
“Jackson State is the biggest economic base in West Jackson. A lot of products and services in the area are dependent on the students and faculty from the school.”
Kim Hilliard, director of Jackson State University’s Center for University-Based Development, does not want students to be surprised by the level of activity that takes place at One University Place in the next few months.
“We are now in the process of leasing to restaurants, retailers, and an art gallery ran by students”, Hilliard said. “We wanted to adhere to the students wants, we took students opinions into consideration for One University Place and the type of business that it will be composed of. The apartments that make up the upper portion of One University Place is 35% leased and have recently began offering leasing specials.
Jackson State students are happy to see the development of the area, some recalling a time when shotgun houses filled the spaces now comprising the College of Business, Dollye M.E. Robinson Building, and Walter Payton Wellness Center.
Curnis Upkins, a graduate student studying Urban and Regional Planning from Jackson Miss., envisions future development in the area.
“In ten years I would like to see Lynch Street offering all entertainment, food and services for the students.”, says Upkins.
Ontario Ford, a junior management major from Ruleville Miss., and a member of Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), expects to see a boost in enrollment as a result of the new development.
“The more attractive environment will attract new students as more and more the old is being replaced with the new.” said Ford.
Shannon Hunter, a senior business major from Jackson Miss., sees One University Place as only step one in a long beneficial process.
“New businesses will come,” says Hunter, “and with that, more people and developments,” said Ford.
Express Cleaners was the first business to take residence in One University place, but more are on the way, as the Jackson State community and business realize the potential the new development can bring into the area.