Jackson makes some ambitious plans

There's a reason Jackson is the fastest-growing community in southern Missouri:

The city of 12,000 people thinks big.

It has continued to expand over the years, internally and outwardly, because of the city's strong leadership and its steadfast commitment to growing in an organized, well-orchestrated manner.

A good example of this is its ambitious -- yet worthwhile -- plan to spend $5.7 million in infrastructure improvements.

As part of the plan, the city will upgrade its water distribution, sanitary sewer and street and electric distribution systems.

Bigger projects call for a new water well at the Jackson Industrial Park on U.S. 61 and a $642,000 pump upgrade at the city's aging water plant to increase pressure.

There will also be numerous additions to the sewer system, street improvements on South Shawnee Boulevard and South Old Orchard Road and an extension of an electrical transmission line from Shawnee Boulevard to Oak Hill Road.

That's quite a list.

For a city like Jackson, this is aggressive, forward-thinking planning.

We agree with the city administrator, Jim Roach, who said he'd rather see city government "work really hard ... and not get it all done than be twiddling our thumbs in the third quarter." Many other cities don't mind twiddling.

Also unlike many cities, Jackson has a stable economy, which enables the city to do a large number of projects without jeopardizing the city's financial security. It is wise to take advantage of that.

But Jackson's leaders aren't stopping there.

They're also thinking further into the future. This year, they will begin to talk about building a new water plant that they say will be sorely needed in a few years.

There are also ideas to build a new community center, an elementary school in the northeast part of the city and maybe even a new library.

Jackson residents may also see ground broken this year for a new senior center.

Jackson business leaders expect another healthy year in 2003. Jackson's sales tax revenue increased 5 percent in 2002 at a time when many communities -- including Cape Girardeau -- were struggling to hold onto revenue levels from the previous year.

Jackson residents seem to agree with the direction the city is taking.

They should also be pleased that they have put leaders in place who aren't afraid to think bigger, work harder -- especially if the results continue to be organized growth. A lot of good things are happening in Jackson.

After all, standing still never got anyone anywhere. No one can accuse Jackson of that.