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Ted Duckworth - Jackson FreePress 2009

Ted Duckworth, owner of Duckworth Realty in Jackson, has been the driving force behind millions of dollars worth of development in the city. Graduating from Mississippi State University in 1988 with a degree in real estate and mortgage finance, Duckworth, 42, started his company the following year.

"The key is we've got to get more people living down here," Duckworth told BOOM Jackson magazine last year. "And we have to have more activity after hours."

Ted Duckworth, who is also chairman of the Downtown Jackson Partners board of directors, that means mixed-use properties in the heart of the city. He has been demonstrating his belief publicly for many years, developing such properties as the the Heritage Building on East Capitol Street and the Electric 308 Building on East Pearl Street. Each of the properties combines retail or restaurant space, offices and residential units.

Recently, the Mississippi Development Authority granted Duckworth the rights to develop the old Mississippi School for the Blind. The project will put more than $150 million into the old school, located off Interstate 55 North in Jackson's Eastover area, which has been empty since the school merged with the state School for the Deaf, nearby.

"It all goes back to that sense of place and pride in where you live—and the people," Duckworth told the Jackson Free Press in 2006. "I think Jackson is a beautiful town. I feel so fortunate to be in a community like this and to be able to make a difference."

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