JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – More than a month after Gov. Tate Reeves vetoed millions of dollars in allocations for the city of Jackson, leaders with the Jackson Convention Complex say they’re still looking for ways to improve parking at the facility.
“As far as the parking lot goes, we’ve turned our attention to backup plans and what our options are from the funding perspective,” said Mark Arancibia, convention complex general manager.
During the 2022 legislative session, lawmakers allocated $1 million to help improve parking for the convention center. However, the earmark was vetoed by Reeves.
Arancibia said the funds would have been used to repave and repair the makeshift parking lot currently used by patrons visiting the Pascagoula Street facility.
The lot, which is located across the street from the center, is made up of numerous concrete slabs owned by the city of Jackson, the Jackson Redevelopment Authority, and a private owner.
The city helped piece together the properties years ago in hopes of bringing a hotel to the site. However, those plans have yet to materialize.
Arancibia said repairing that lot – leveling it, repaving it, and restriping it – would be a short-term fix to help bring in more events, and keep organizers from pulling one event that the center has already booked through the next three years.
“If the parking lot is not fixed by (the winter of) 2024, then they have the right to pull out,” he said. “She said they would, but you never know what’s going to happen in the next 18 months.”
Arancibia said plans now include looking for sponsors to help pay for the repaving. He said sponsorships have worked in other areas.
“I’ve seen that from other lots. You pull a dealership who wants to do advertising, and put their name on the parking lot,” he said. “There are a lot of ways to skin a cat… We’re just trying to figure out how we can get it done.”
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