“It’s a good day in Fondren.”

Senator John Horhn’s words opened the groundbreaking ceremonies of Taylor Court, Oxford Court and Downing Court on Wednesday, officially signifying the beginning of development on 163 multi-family housing units west of State Street.  In attendance was Governor Phil Bryant, whose Mississippi Governor’s Healthcare Initiative aims to create housing for those who serve in the medical community.

“I went to Houston (in 2011) to see the  medical city, what Jackson can become, like Birmingham and Nashville,” Governor Bryant said. “(To accomplish this), I believed we needed affordable housing for those that work in our medical centers – those who keep rooms clean, provide security and move patients throughout the hospital – nearby, affordable safe housing. Today you see the outcome.”

Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber said the governor’s commitment to Jackson is solid. “We’ve talked about how we wanted to insure that the capital city is the heartbeat of the state,” the Mayor remarked. “When we talk about the city of Jackson being open for business, that does not happen without the support of the chief executive officer of Mississippi.”

Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon said city administration is working hard to keep their doors open to investment that matters to Jackson. “I want quality development that will last, that will serve our people for a long time,” she added.

The $18.5 million project, made possible through federal tax credits, was awarded in an allocation from Mississippi Home Corporation. “Not only do we allocate the credits, but this is the just the beginning of a 30 year relationship, a long-term commitment,” said Mississippi Home Corp. executive director, Scott Spivey. “We’re going to be there to make sure everything is done and kept up correctly and that all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.”

That’s good news to Fondren Renaissance Foundation, the neighborhood organization that oversees the progressive development and overall health of the eclectic neighborhood known for inclusion and diversity. Executive Director Jim Wilkirson said, “Today’s groundbreaking will no doubt contribute to the continued success of the proposed health care initiatives that are being brought to fruition through the state’s healthcare corridor.”

Triangle Development President Bob King (the “man who is putting his neck on the line for all this,” Senator Horhn said) expressed thanks to everyone in attendance and said his group is pleased to be in Fondren. “We really feel like these projects are going to provide something for everyone,” he remarked.

With land clearing machinery in the background and fill dirt work scheduled to begin Monday, those in attendance couldn’t help but remark at the significance of the development. “As I look at this heavy equipment, we see signs of progress,” Governor Bryant said.” When excavators and dozers are running, you’ve got good things happening in the city of Jackson.” Mayor Yarber echoed, “This development is something that says, ‘there’s hope.”