Revitalization Plan for South Jackson Mentions Restoring Bemis Mill

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SOUTH JACKSON — A revitalization plan for South Jackson breathes new life in the hope to save the Bemis Mill. The Jackson City Council unanimously passed the 20-year plan on Tuesday. City Council members said it is part of their long-term goal to build up every part of Jackson. “We have feared the Bemis community would disappear one day and not be the Bemis community it was a few years ago,” Vicky Foote, who represents the Bemis area on the Jackson City Council, said. Foote said when she was elected 3 years ago, she promised a change for Bemis. “I feel that today with the passage of revitalization project for Bemis especially and South Jackson area, that it’s the beginning of a new day,” Foote said. City officials said the new plan focuses on bringing new businesses and residents to the area. Foote said keeping the Bemis Mill is mentioned several times in the plan. James Wilson hopes it can be saved and restored. “It’s a big deal for the history of the mill and history of Bemis, not just that we want it to stay here but we want them to do something with it. We want it to look the way it did when we grew up,” Wilson said. Wilson, who was born in Bemis, said he hopes the new plan will encourage residents to take care of the area. “I’m excited about them putting new sidewalks in because from what I understand all the streets will have handicap ramps. Walkways are in bad shape in places,” he said. “It will never look like it did 50 years ago, but I see it being a place where when you return there after being away from it for years, you will still recognize it,” Foote said. Mayor Gist said city leaders hope to build up the commercial part of South Jackson along South Highland Avenue, with sit-down restaurants and more shopping. Foote said they will now be applying for state grants to help pay for new projects around Bemis.

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