HomeBusinessOPINION: Hopefully we'll see 'potential' talk transition to progress in 2023

OPINION: Hopefully we’ll see ‘potential’ talk transition to progress in 2023

Local leaders have been using a handful of terms and phrases repeatedly for the past while.

“Gamechanger.”

“Transformational.”

“On the verge of something big.”

“Unprecedented.”

And there’s nothing wrong with any of those phrases. In fact, it’s a good thing we’re actually hearing those words in relation to things that are actually happening.

Blue Oval City in Haywood County will be an unprecedented transformational gamechanger for all of rural West Tennessee.

Great Wolf Lodge was something that brought a great deal of excitement in the last month before the pandemic started in 2020 when the resort company announced in February of that year of their intentions to come to the Hub City.

For the past year, we’ve been hearing about Georgia-Pacific’s pending arrival to Jackson that state and local leadership celebrated earlier this month.

And then there was the announcement of the City of Jackson’s intention to purchase the land that currently holds Jackson Plaza and Service Merchandise with Mayor Scott Conger’s intention of putting an arena and convention center in its place.

All four of these projects have different areas of impact, and all four are in different phases of development.

Ground has broken on Blue Oval City. Infrastructure is being put in place for Great Wolf Lodge. Management is in place in Jackson for Georgia-Pacific’s Dixie Jackson plant. Conger’s arena and convention center would still probably fall into the category of legitimate wish list, but approval of the purchase by the City Council on the second reading next week in their meeting appears to be a mere formality.

So as we’re entering a new year, the expectation is now to see the handful of phrases and terms used by our local leaders to begin to transition from words that indicate potential to words that indicate action.

Ford and SK Innovation have broken ground at the plot of land formerly known as the Memphis Area Regional Megasite.

The expectation for 2023 for Blue Oval City is to begin hearing some of the supplier companies they will choose and then hopefully hear about sites where they will set up their own plants. This is a significant part of how Blue Oval City will actually transform the economy of rural West Tennessee. Because as much as the 5,600 announced jobs planned for the site will make a difference, the supplier plants will add even more impact of the project.

Great Wolf Lodge’s Jackson project got knocked down a few spots on the corporation’s priority list in 2020 when the state took the incentives for the project out of its state budget early in the pandemic, but hopefully some of the handful of projects on their list ahead of Jackson will be completed and we’ll start to see movement toward actual construction by the end of the year – maybe even a groundbreaking before it gets cold next winter.

With management already in place for Georgia-Pacific, we’ll probably get a slow broadcast of information similar to what Ford Motor Company has done in 2022 about upcoming hiring procedures and announcements of more managerial staff for the plant.

And with Jackson Plaza, even Conger has said hoping for a demolition of the current buildings by the end of the year is a doable but ambitious goal. But they’re hoping for results from different studies of traffic, usage and feasibility (among others) of that piece of land and the surrounding areas to determine the best efforts to act toward once the land officially belongs to the City.

So while it feels like (rightfully so) that we’re in hurry up and wait mode with all these projects, things are happening with them, and the potential ahead for Madison County and other areas is gamechangingly transformational.

But during a conversation last week with a person involved in a smaller project that’s set to be complete this year, I made a sarcastic remark about how they were moving faster than the already-discussed big projects.

The response was, “Yeah it seems like it’s moving fast, but this is coming after six years of planning.”

So while we all would like to see everything that’s coming to magically appear overnight or even in about a year, we’ve got continue to be patient.

Because if the impact is half of what we’ve been told it is of all these things, they will be worth the wait.

Brandon Shields is the managing editor of The Jackson Post. Contact him at brandon@jacksonpost.news. Follow him on Twitter @JSEditorBrandon or Instagram @Editorbrandon.

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