On January 24, 2016 the city of Jackson unveiled its new $5.5 million Civic Center at 381 E. Deerwood Drive in a ribbon-cutting that had an overflowing crowd and a performance by the St. Paul Lutheran School fourth and fifth grade choir.
The 23,300-square-foot facility, which would serve as a FEMA safe room in the event of natural disaster, features athletic courts, an indoor walking track and various socialization spaces and common areas.
In an article he wrote for the Southeast Missourian a year after the grand opening, Mayor Dwain Hahs had this to say:
“The Civic Center is a facility that Jackson can be proud of. The generous donation from Jackson Community Foundation made the building of the Civic Center possible. Their donation of $4.2 million combined with FEMA funds from the Federal Government and monies from the City of Jackson’s Park and Recreational fund paid for the facility in full. But it did not stop there. The community continued its generosity by contributing to the Civic Center Donation Fund. The Civic Center Donation Committee, chaired by Kathy Johnson, raised another $500,000 in donations and pledges. This money is being used to purchase additional needed items to fit out the Civic Center and add enhancements.
“The unique design of the Civic Center has been well received. The design committee was made up of JCF Board Members and City of Jackson staff. This group worked closely with Incite Design Studio to produce the great structure. Incite Design Studio is now working with the Jackson R-2 School District to develop a strategic facilities plan for the future.
“We continue to review future enhancements to the Civic Center facility and the surrounding park land. Your ideas for the future enhancements are welcomed.
“Our neighbor, the Jackson R-2 School District, has begun the improvements and additions to the Jackson High School baseball field next door. The project will be a multi-year project with the city and school district working closely together to make this sports and event complex even better in the future.
“The Jackson Civic Center has had a busy last year. Through the end of the year the center has sold 1,965 Early Bird Entry Passes and 8,642 Daily Entry Passes.
“The Civic Center has been the location for 329 Events with over 16,000 attendees present.
“The banquet rooms and outside patio area have been very popular. The gym has hosted several events with over 500 in attendance, such as the Red and Black Jackson R-2 Foundation Dance and the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet.
“The Civic Center also was home to the Jackson Feed My Starving Children food packing event in April where over 150,000 meals were packed. This event will be held again this year, April 8, with the goal of increasing the meals packed to more than 250,000. The gym area is in constant use from the walkers early in the morning to exercise classes, pickup basketball games and the ever popular pickle ball games.
“The membership, entry fees and facilities rentals totaled over $55,000 during 2016. The plan is to increase this revenue during 2017 with a full 12 months and greater rental usage. The goal is to have fees and rental income cover 20 percent to 25 percent of the operating costs of the Civic Center. The balance of the expenses are covered by the quarter of a percent recreational sales tax passed in 2014, for the operation of the Civic Center and the operations and enhancements of the city parks.”