APRIL FOOLS — Now that the state has refused to meet one of Jackson Lab’s main demands to build a huge facility in Sarasota County, the Bangor, Maine,-based research laboratory may look elsewhere.
The Legislature let Jackson Lab know last week that it would not be able to come up with the $100 million that the company was seeking as an incentive.
County officials were counting on the new genetics-research facility to bring more than 400 jobs to the area and generate about $130 million in state and local taxes into the economy. Now they’re scrambling to find an alternative.
The county is now wooing a lesser-known Jackson Lab, which is headquartered in Coldwater, Mich.
Its mission is much different than the heralded Maine-based company.
The other Jackson Lab cryogenically stores the bodies of famous people named Jackson, until the technology that can restore them to life emerges.
“We allow the world’s most well-known Jacksons to remain together,” said lab President Gerald Jackson. “Although we come from different corners of the globe, Jacksons are all like-minded.”
Already frozen in futuristic stainless steel tubes are: Shoeless Joe Jackson, former President Andrew Jackson, Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson, artist Jackson Pollack and, of course, Michael Jackson.
“When Michael made his reservation with us, he jokingly referred to himself as the King of Popsicles,” Jackson said. “A couple of people laughed to be polite.”
Among the people who have made their reservations are actor Samuel L. Jackson, former baseball player Reggie Jackson, rock musician Jackson Browne and Randy Jackson, of “American Idol.”
The lab’s president is optimistic that in 20 to 30 years a rejuvenation process will be perfected, and the Jacksons will be thawed and given life once again.
“When the time comes, it will be the largest Jackson reunion the world has ever known,” he said.
The entry rules at Jackson Lab are quite strict. Only people with the actual name Jackson will be accepted. For instance, the child of a golfing legend tried to reserve his spot but was turned away — Gary Nicklaus wrote “Jack’s son” on the entry form.
The economic impact of Jackson Lab junior will be much less than the original Jackson Lab. Instead of 400-plus jobs, it will bring three. And the economic impact will be slightly more than $2,000 per year in tax revenue.
“But many of our employees like to dine out four or five times a week,” said Jackson. “So they’ll be pumping some money into the local economy.”
If it receives County Commission approval, Jackson Lab will be hiring three people from Sarasota. However, only people named “Jackson” will be considered.
Send resumes to: Jackson Lab, 4001 Shiver Drive, Coldwater, Mich., 00100.
Contact Robin Roy at [email protected]