JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – As 2016 comes to a close, it concludes a year of accomplishments and challenges for the city of Jackson.
6 News talked to the city about what was achieved this year and what’s in store for 2017.
2016 in Jackson will be remembered as a year when the city built up and tore down.
“I think overall, we’ve had a great year,” said City of Jackson Public Information Officer Will Forgrave.
Forgrave says downtown Jackson boomed in 2016, with nearly a dozen new businesses added, and several big developments sprouting up.
“I think the biggest success story in 2016 was the Lofts on Louis development. A lot of work went into that. They recently broke ground on the first major development in 15 years,” Forgrave said.
In the neighborhoods, we saw hundreds of blighted properties demolished using federal funds.
While this did cause controversy, Forgrave says the city is already seeing the benefits.
“We’re seeing the positives from property values increasing. More property values means more taxes, and more services for everybody,” Forgrave said.
Challenges in 2017 will be similar to the same issues the city faced this year.
Such as growing the local economy, public safety, and reining in pension costs.
“Pensions are constantly ballooning and we have to get those in check. And we’re continuing to get them in check in working with the unions,” Forgrave said.
A teen getting shot while boarding a school bus back in September brought attention to Jackson’s problem with gun violence.
But one issue that seems to be spiraling out of control is heroin.
Several overdoses are reported in the city nearly every day.
“It’s really a matter of hunkering down and working with the community on this heroin problem. Obviously it’s on the forefront of everyone’s minds so we’re going to work on it in 2017,” Forgrave said.
Problems aside, Forgrave says the city is aiming for a bright 2017.