June 4, 2010
Posted: 10:00 PM ET
Michael Jackson's father is moving ahead with plans to build a museum – and possibly a casino – in the late singer's hometown of Gary, Indiana. Joe Jackson and mayor Rudy Clay announced yesterday that they were launching a feasibility study into a massive Jackson complex, including a museum, concert hall, performing arts centre, pavilion, and possibly a hotel, restaurant and gambling parlour.
In anticipation of the project, Gary's board of public works and safety has transferred a large swath of development property to the Jackson Family Foundation. The area measures around 300 acres and is located near a highway, sports stadium and golf course. If the town becomes the Jackson equivalent of Elvis Presley's Graceland, the board expects up to 750,000 visitors each year – and as much as $150m in annual revenue.
Similar construction projects have been suggested in California, where Michael Jackson spent much of his life, but Joe Jackson said Gary is where his son would have wanted his principal memorial. Michael and his siblings were all born in Gary, and Joe said he hoped the complex would provide thousands of jobs. "We're bringing something back," he said. Michael's mother, Katherine Jackson, has also allegedly approved the enterprise.
Not everyone in Gary is confident about turning the city into a mecca for Jackson fans, however. Local council member Carolyn Rogers said she had dinner with family representatives on Monday night, but "didn't get a lot of specifics". "In terms of having all the information that I need to say, 'Hey, this will work,' I can't say that at this point," she told the Indiana Post Tribune.
City officials estimate the project will cost about $300m. It could begin as early as next year. Officials hope to raise money through a combination of investors and donations from enthusiastic fans. Meanwhile, the city is planning to unveil a newly relocated Jackson monument, made of granite, at the singer's original family home. It is located, inevitably, on Jackson Street.
Filed under: Michael Jackson
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