25 Years in Jackson

Since I have been at JDDC, I have always wondered when JDDC became an official Tennessee Main Street Program. Justine and I have gone through every file in the office and still could only find our charter date, which was 1992 (I believe this was the second charter filed though).  I did know from stories of those who formed this great organization, that it was more like the mid to late 1980’s. Well, the TN Main St program got a new state director, Todd Morgan, last year and I asked him to check into it for me.  He found Jackson’s original file, and the application was submitted in late 1988 and a state resource team was sent to Jackson and approval granted for JDDC to become an accredited Main Street program in 1989. I found this out in January and when we did the math it was realized that 2014 is our 25th anniversary!

We get to celebrate 25 years of the Jackson community coming together and supporting the heart of our city. We are one of the oldest programs in the state and we are still going strong. Many of you may know Lyda Kay Farree. She was the first director of JDDC and is always willing to help us out. I know if I have a question about JDDC’s history, I can count on her.  She had a tough job in the beginning in the mid-1980s building a new program. I am sure she had to do quite a bit of promotional work letting people know why an organization like this is important to our community.  I am so very grateful for her dedication and love for downtown Jackson. Ray Tanner was the first JDDC Board of Directors President.  Again, he too, had a tough job. To be able to recruit board members to start a new non-profit, one that focuses on just the downtown district for revitalization had to be a hard sell.

They did come together though and begin building a foundation for this organization that we still stand on today. Downtown Jackson has seen all kinds of wonderful things happen as well as some devastating things.  I will be focusing on various events, pictures and challenges throughout the last 25 years.  I will need your help. I can tell you all kinds of things about east Tennessee during those years, but since I have been in Jackson,  I have been so focused on the present and future of downtown Jackson, that there hasn’t been much time to focus on its more recent history.

How can you help? Send us your pictures and stories of downtown Jackson from 1985-2014 to jddc@cityofjackson.net or post on our Facebook page, you can just type JDDC and like the page while you are there! We are open to the good and the not so good (you just have to end on a positive note).

 Help us tell the story of downtown Jackson, the then and the now.  Then you can help us celebrate!

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One thought on “25 Years in Jackson

  1. Thanks also to Mayor Farmer and City Council for believing in the mission of Main Street/JDDC and understanding the importance of a vibrant downtown. It was during this same late 80s time frame a master plan for redevelopment was commissioned. That plan resulted in the relocation of City Hall, the Farmers Market, the City bus terminal and The NED. All of these early improvements helped to transform downtown.

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