By: Rickey Thigpen, Visit Jackson
Greetings to my Destinations International family,
I and my Visit Jackson colleagues have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of concern and consideration as our community continues to heal from flooding and the subsequent water treatment plant and processing crisis. The staff and I are safe and continue to work each day. In fact, as Destination MANAGEMENT Organization human capital, our talent and skill sets are being called upon to sit at the table and be involved in conversations as solutions and strategies are being crafted.
At the onset of the flooding and water crisis, quality of life was significantly impacted by not having drinking or running water for many of our residents. I am pleased to report that federal, state, and local governments are now working in unison, and running water has been restored to residents and businesses. We are currently operating under "boil-water" notices, an upgrade from the conditions a week ago.
However, our current environment still negatively impacts the business of our economic development sector, including the tourism and hospitality industry. To further establish context, Jackson is currently and ironically celebrating its Bicentennial Year. Its old infrastructure has been neglected for years, and now the current leadership and residents are forced to establish corrective measures for future generations.
Recovery and sustainability for our industry partners is a core concern for myself and the Visit Jackson Board of Directors. To that end, later this week, Visit Jackson will announce a grant program for Jackson's lodging, restaurant, and museum/attraction industry partners.
Grant reimbursement funding will be made available to qualified partners that can provide documentation regarding extra expenditures for ice, water, and soft drinks purchased during the boil water notice.
If there are sister DMO entities that would like to contribute to this grant funding source, donations may be made to our 501c3 foundation, Destination Jackson, Inc. Any funds that are received will extend the funding that the Visit Jackson Board of Directors has previously identified.
Thank each of you for your genuine concern. Thank you in advance for any consideration to support our efforts to sustain our industry partners that make us The City With Soul. These are challenging times for all of us; we at Visit Jackson chose to see the cup as half full and are dedicated to continuing to provide input and strategies to ensure that our city is made whole.
We are City With Soul STRONG!
Rickey L. Thigpen, PhD
President & CEO