Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Bralynn Jamila Franklin turned 6 months old this past week. And as her mother and I prepare to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, I've found my thoughts have turned more toward the future. Not so much for her parents but for a baby that will soon grow into a young lady and then a woman living in the city of Jackson.
As a father, you'll find that you start thinking about your every move and how it will affect your little ones. Health-wise, financial, career, you want to make sure that your kids live an even better life than the one you led—one with more excitement, more fulfillment and more opportunity.
I get excited thinking about the Jackson my daughter will experience as opposed to the one I did. She will have more amenities, more opportunity, and certainly more reasons to stay at home rather than take her skills elsewhere.
If you take an even broader approach to that thought, it could hold true for development as well. In fact, it could be said that smart developments are those that look to improve the quality of life. Not for my contemporaries or me, not even for my teenaged kids, but for Bralynn and other future Jacksonians born at the start of this new decade.
It's time that we take an unselfish approach to building this metropolis that is Jackson for long-term sustainability.
Sure, structures like the convention center and the King Edward can provide us with instant gratification, instant victories and instant tax dollars. However, it's projects like Old Capital Green, Farish Street, the proposed Riverwalk, or an 18,000 seat arena that will truly set the tone for generations to come. It's the projects "under construction" and those that haven't broke ground, yet, that will tell the tale.*
The hundreds of young professionals who have chosen to live, work and play in downtown Jackson are indeed pioneers, but in 10 years it will be those college graduates who really reap the benefits of the decisions we make today.
See, it's not about "us." Sure, I'll be able to enjoy many a night on Farish Street or go see a great show at the convention center in the near future. Hopefully, I'll see the completion of a new arena and a viable water feature in downtown Jackson. But it's not about "us"; it's about "them." Little ones like my daughter.
Don't ask yourself where Jackson will be in three to five years; ask yourself where Jackson will be 10 to 15 years from now. The developments of today will be the city's selling points for the future.
If we are indeed going to be that bold new city, we have to start thinking ahead.
And that's the truth ... sho-nuff.
*Disclosure: Kamikaze's employer is developing Farish Street and is a proponent of Riverwalk.