2021 has turned out to be another successful year for the Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation. For those who are not familiar, JEDCO exists to meet the needs of existing businesses and to attract new investment to the city of Jacksonville. To this end, JEDCO spent 2021 focusing on the following six goals:
1. Feed existing businesses
2. Attract new business
3. Defend the community
4. Foster the workforce
5. Beautify Jacksonville
6. Plan for the future
These goals were established by the Board of Directors in 2018 to help guide JEDCO’s efforts and spending. So what was JEDCO able to accomplish in 2021? Here is an overview of the projects, programs and funding that took place during the year.
JEDCO’s board of directors has approved funding for a total of 33 projects in 2021, amounting to just over $ 1,093,000 to help businesses and property owners. The funding provided by JEDCO serves as a spark to help projects get started, or to fill the financial gap to make a project feasible. This financial assistance has made it possible to generate more than $ 10,000,000 in private investments. This is a good sign that Jacksonville continues to grow and see new investments.
During the year, many existing businesses requested and received funds to make improvements to their buildings. As you walk down S. Jackson, US 79, or through downtown, you’ve probably seen the renovations businesses have gone through. Twenty-three companies received facade improvement grants: a total of over $ 84,000. These funds have made it possible to repaint buildings, repair and repave parking lots, replace signs, repair or replace lighting, install new window coverings and many other items that help make a business or a more attractive building. Some of the companies that received the facade improvement grant were: Chantilly’s Devine Consign, JW’s BBQ, Bowen’s Temple, Patio Restaurant, Rainbow’s End and Truckerz.
Downtown revitalization efforts continued in 2021. These included attracting new businesses to set up shop and helping existing businesses make significant improvements to their buildings. One of the ways JEDCO contributed to this effort in 2021 was by offering the Downtown Redevelopment Grant. This grant provides a counterpart of up to $ 50,000 for renovations and rehabilitation of buildings. Five projects were awarded in 2021 for a total of just over $ 209,000 in matching grant funds.
One of the grant recipients was Main StrEAT Plaza, which created an attractive food truck fleet. Another recipient of the DRP grant was Ritual. This grant helped convert an existing vacant building with a dilapidated roof into what is now known as Bar Ritual. This upscale bar and restaurant is a great downtown addition for day and night guests. Neighbors Coffee on the corner of Main and US 79 has also received the DRP grant and is in the process of converting a vacant building in distress into a bustling cafe. The list is long and includes Marisco’s, Postmasters and Vine on Main. Each of these businesses have invested downtown to help bring more dining and retail options to the community. JEDCO was proud to be a partner in these efforts and look forward to funding many more projects next year.
In addition to matching grants targeting quality of life, JEDCO has provided financial assistance for projects focused on creating new jobs, improving infrastructure and supporting the manufacturing sector. JEDCO has committed significant resources to these projects with a total of $ 775,000 approved in 2021. Funding included support for a state grant for the reconstruction and improvement of downtown sidewalks, extension a large collector sewer north of O’Keefe Road, the demolition of substandard structures preventing the construction of Super 1 Foods, and the approval of leases for JEDCO-owned buildings in the Norman Industrial Park in order to attract and retain business.
A healthy, well-trained and abundant workforce is necessary for the success of our local economy. JEDCO has been and remains committed to helping the development of the workforce. In 2021, JEDCO ran a regional manufacturing skills competition in partnership with Texas A&M and Adams Engineers and Equipment. JEDCO has organized several hiring events in support of the Bealls distribution center with over 75 people hired. JEDCO hosted a “Wages and Labor” workshop to help local businesses recruit and retain employees, and hosted a half-day workshop with the Small Business Development Center to help entrepreneurs succeed in the workplace. their new businesses.
Through the vision and direction of the Board of Directors, JEDCO has continued the progress made in recent years. The commitment to serving as a resource for Jacksonville businesses remains strong. 2021 has turned out to be a year of big projects and big investments, and the Board of Directors is committed to doing everything possible to continue the uptrend in 2022.