After seven months of construction, years of planning and over 15 public engagement sessions, the West Jackson Streetscape project is nearing completion. To celebrate, the City of Thomasville will hold a West Jackson Streetscape Project ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, November 15th at 9:15AM. The public is encouraged to attend this free celebration.
“The West Jackson Streetscape Project has been a true community effort,” said April Norton, City of Thomasville Main Street and Business Development Director. “We are thrilled to celebrate the many hours of hard work and public input that has brought this project to completion.”
The West Jackson Streetscape project, which is a part of the Creative District Vision Plan developed in 2014, has played a major role in the revitalization efforts to this historic area of our Downtown. “The Creative District Vision Plan was targeted at increasing economic opportunity, revitalizing the historic area, and bringing creative community resources together in this important segment of downtown Thomasville,” said Norton. “From this initial plan, three important projects were developed, including The Ritz Amphitheater and Park, the Community Trail trailhead and finally, the West Jackson Streetscape. It is quite an accomplishment for our community to be completing this final phase.”
“This plan, and specifically the West Jackson Streetscape project, allowed us an opportunity to showcase the cultural significance of The Bottom, which has been home to many African American and minority-owned businesses throughout our history,” said Sherri Nix, Public Outreach Manager. “It was important that we establish a plan as part of our revitalization efforts that would embrace this area’s cultural heritage while also leveraging the energy of the business community for this area,” said Nix.
As part of this effort, the Thomasville City Council voted in 2018 to officially name the amphitheater and park after The Ritz Theater, which was the main gathering place for African Americans for many years. The Council also formally recognized the West Jackson business district as The Bottom. “These were important milestones to preserving the history of this area,” said Norton.
As the final project of the vision plan has neared completion, the collaborative efforts of the Thomasville community have not gone unnoticed. “We were honored to receive two awards from the Georgia Downtown Association,” said Norton. “These awards are something that all of Thomasville can be proud of, because it represents what we as a community have accomplished together,” she said. The awards recognize the Creative District Vision Plan for Best Design/Placemaking Project and the West Jackson Streetscape Project as Outstanding Promotional Campaign.
The community is invited to share in the success of these award-winning projects at the ribbon cutting ceremony, which will begin at 9:15 a.m. in The Ritz Park and Amphitheater, located at 131 South Stevens Street. “We will begin with a short video about the project before officially cutting the ribbon at the intersection of West Jackson and Stevens Streets,” said Nix. “We hope our community will join us as together we celebrate what was the true success behind this project - our community’s involvement. We truly feel that this project has been a hand-in-hand partnership between the City of Thomasville and many other stakeholders. It will be a privilege to unveil all the hard work and collaboration that has occurred.”