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New sound system brings Christmas cheer to downtown Jackson

Posted at 10:14 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 22:14:07-05

JACKSON, Mich. — The holiday season is in full swing and downtown Jackson is trying to capture that spirit with a new sound system to enhance your holiday experience.

Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Cory Mays said this was a no brainer.

“We started playing music about three weeks ago, and I had calls and text messages within five minutes of the system being powered up,” he said.

The music plays daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. They don’t play non-stop music because Mays doesn’t want to play it in the middle of the night.

“But, we can change that too,” he said. “We can adjust it and if someone complains and says, ‘Man, you started the music so early on a Saturday.' Oh, ok fair. We can change that. It’s really easy. We also have a remote control system where I can run this.”

He is open for suggestions.

“We welcome those ideas of people saying to me, ‘Why are you playing jazz five days in a row? Can’t you switch it up?’ Of course!”

The Jackson Anchor Initiative paid $14,000 for the new sound system which seems to be a hit so far.

Jackson residents Phillip Baker and Richard Schweda both said positive things about it.

“The sound is great,” Baker said. “You can hear it all through town. It’s something we don’t get in Jackson. This is something we’ve never had in Jackson for years. It’s pleasant. It’s comforting. The kids like it. If they will bring more stuff like this to Jackson it will be a lot easier to get along, do shopping.”

Schweda said the sound system “is great. It makes it feel more like Christmas, I suppose. It makes it feel like an actual winter wonderland. Living right above the bar downtown here I can’t really get away from it but it is kind of nice because I don’t listen to Christmas music all season.”

The speakers are in a zig-zag pattern down Michigan Avenue and that was for a reason.

“We did the math and we measured how far the sound was going to travel from one unit to the next,” Mays said. “Then, make sure we didn’t create dead zones or dead pockets between the speaker system so that as you walk from one corner to the next, you have continuous music where you are.”

It won’t be just for the Christmas season.

“We’ll use it a whole lot more after this,” Mays said. “We’ll be able to use it for playing music of any genre during the day as people are shopping or certain music for certain events. Say we’ve got a Halloween shopping event downtown we can play spooky music that night or if there’s Valentine’s shopping event we can play romantic music. We can also make PA announcements and do advertisements for our businesses and a whole host of things.”

The goal is to expand the system early and move it throughout Jackson Street and potentially Mechanic Street.

“I think it’s just really exciting to have this down here,” he said. “It’s been a little while since we’ve had music playing in the city and lots of retailers have asked about it and restaurant owners. So, it’s just another really great piece to add to the puzzle of downtown Jackson make it an even more incredible place to visit.”

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Joe Gebhardt

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1:52 PM, Dec 16, 2020

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