Jackson Convention Complex: Economic Stimulant

A year after opening, the Jackson Convention Complex in Jackson, Miss., has generated more than $21 million for the local economy, local newspaper the Jackson Free Press reported last week, citing a new report from Jackson's Capital City Convention Center Commission.

Titled "Where Mississippi Meets the World," the report found that since opening in January 2009, the new convention center has created $583,143 in event-related jobs and $182,256 in sales tax revenue.

"Before this opened, we were the only capital city in the South that did not have a convention center," Jackson Convention Complex General Manager Linda McCarthy told the Free Press. "We needed this; there was so much business going to other cities."

Last year, the 330,000-square-foot convention center hosted 323 days of events, the largest of which was the "Get Motivated Seminar," a motivational speakers conference that hosted 6,000 people a day for two days. The facility will attract larger events, according to McCarthy, once a planned convention center hotel opens.

"Once the convention center hotel opens we can bring larger business into this city," she said, adding that although land has been secured for the hotel, construction has yet to begin. "You have to have all pieces of the puzzle: entertainment, hotel rooms and parking capacity. It's great that we have the space, but there are so many pieces that go with that and we are getting there."