ArticleID: 165
Date: 1/3/2003
Written By: Captain Jackson

by Captain Jackson

The third day of January two thousand and three was a sad day for many Jackson residents, especially those who live downtown. You see, this was the last day Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Kathleen Eriksen would hold that job.

At a special "going away" party held at Daryl`s Downtown, many of her admirer`s and co-workers reminisced about the good times they had shared, and wished her their best with her new job in Battle Creek. As she stated, "This is a great opportunity for me." And she was correct.

Officials from Battle Creek, Michigan had recently approached Kathleen and offered her a job doing the same thing she had done for Jackson---turn their downtown area into a growing infrastructure of it`s own. And if anyone could do it, Kathleen Eriksen certainly was that person.

This reporter first met Kathleen only days after migrating to this community. I was very impressed with her enthusiasm about the downtown district. She and her brother, Valentine, are probably the two people most responsible for making it was it is today. Perhaps that`s the reason she has become such a downtown community icon.

I met Kathleen Eriksen over three years ago when we, as the Crimefighter Corps, first began our crime fighting and educational programs in this community. Instead of questioning our level of commitment, she had the insight to take a "leap of faith" and welcome us with open arms. Since then it has been our pleasure, and honor, to work with her and the DDA in both official and unofficial capacities.

When previous DDA Director Neil Hearst resigned, I asked Kathleen if she was going to get the position. She told me she didn`t believe she had the required credentials. Fortunately, the DDA board had the foresight to recognize her abilities and gave her the position.

A couple of years ago when I nominated Kathleen for the Citizen of the Year award, I mentioned her "dauntless devotion to downtown Jackson as well as DDA events". For example, when the DDA`s budget was all but gone, she continued forward, recruiting volunteers as well as local businesses to come together and contribute in anyway they could. She has always placed her community well ahead of herself, and was never afraid to ask for help when she felt she might be "in" a little over her head. This is a very positive quality this reporter has rarely seen in people in either the public or private sectors.

We, as a community are facing a great loss. We can never replace Kathleen and her enthusiasm, only hope to continue in her footsteps. And she will be sorely missed by all of us. Good Luck Kathleen!

Copyright 2003, CFC

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