Wilson is cautiously optimistic about industry growth in the Jackson area.
Roads, sewers and other essential services in the state’s Gulf counties have benefited from reconditioning and restitution money resulting from Hurricane Katrina and the BP settlement and investments from casino operations. But the Jackson area is hoping that state and federal infrastructure funding is coming soon, Wilson says.
“Because we are the state capital, the government market is usually strong for us. However, state budget issues are keeping that segment down,” he says. “We’ve seen less revenue available, no new bonding and the elimination of incentives such as historic-preservation tax credits.”
Urban revitalization is also much needed, considering the city’s many historically significant buildings, its three universities and aging roads, he adds.
“In Jackson, we have a need of about $1 billion for infrastructure,” Wilson says. “But because we’ve had six mayors in the last 10 years or so, the issue has been kicked down the road. Still, we’re making great inroads on those needs.”