Another proposal for a new arena arises in Jackson, Mississippi — but this time it has the support of business leaders.
Two years after a proposal to build a new arena next to Smith-Wills Stadium flamed out, city leaders in Jackson (MIss.) are looking at a new plan to build a arena in an effort to snare sporting events and concerts.
Downtown Jackson Partners is commissioning a $104,000 study to determine the viability of a new arena, using North Little Rock’s $84-million Alltel Arena as a model. In North Little Rock, the arena opened with no debt thanks to a regional sales tax, with concerts and family events providing steady draws at the box office. Sports is almost an afterthought at Alltel Arena: an AF2 team is the only steady sports tenant, although the arena has snared NCAA men’s basketball tournament games.
The money, says Alltel Arena officials, can be found in high-profile events like Rolling Stones and R. Kelly concerts; the city made $90,000 in sales-tax revenue just from a 2006 Rolling Stones concert. With 120 events annually, the arena is busy.
The study will be funded by private interests; no public money is involved. A location hasn’t been determined, though a leading site is on Metro Parkway between Jackson State University and downtown.