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Jackson Anchor Initiative Accomplishes Long-Term Mission

Jackson, Mich.; March 18, 2024 - The Jackson Anchor Initiative is proud to announce the accomplishment of the organization’s overall mission to “create a more vibrant community in downtown Jackson, MI”.

While the Jackson Anchor Initiative was only intended to be a three-year initiative, they were a catalyst for creating and sustaining a more vibrant downtown area for nine years. The organization extended its life to see downtown Jackson through economic challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic. With the retirement of its President and CEO Scott Fleming, the Anchor has decided to proclaim “mission accomplished” and dissolve.

The non-profit was founded in 2014 under the leadership of Patti Poppe, then vice president of customer experience and regulation at Consumers Energy. Poppe joined forces with 14 additional businesses and three colleges to form the organization.

“After nine years of pressing forward with change, helping businesses grow, welcoming top employees to the area, and so much more, I could not be more proud of the legacy we have built through the Jackson Anchor Initiative,” says board chair, Terry Mierzwa. “I cannot wait to watch as the downtown area continues to thrive on the sustainable foundation the Anchor Initiative helped to forge.”

One of the Ancher’s most remarkable accomplishments was finding a developer interested in the former Hayes Hotel building. Using an economic lens, Scott Fleming was able to secure a developer for this project where others had failed to do so for nearly 20 years. In addition to this, the Anchor has pledged $100,000 to this project due to the important economic impact it will have upon completion.

A big goal the organization had was to satisfy the housing needs in the downtown area. To get developers interested in the area, the Anchor solicited and funded a housing market study that proved the demand for market-rate and low to moderate-rate housing. Since the study was completed, hundreds of new apartment units have been developed. This includes Lofts on Louis, The 200, Francis Senior Lofts, Albert Kahn Apartments, and several upper-level apartments above businesses.

As the first investor in Lean Rocket Lab, the Anchor saw the spectacular momentum the Lab could create, even through early conceptual plans as they were presented. As the Lab worked through their business plan and operation, the Anchor was there the entire time to support them with business guidance and financial support.  

The mission of the Jackson Anchor Initiative will continue to live on through the businesses, individuals, and board members who felt the positive impact of its efforts. The remaining monetary assets will be distributed to other organizations whose goals align with the Anchor’s.