There's more progress to tell you about when it comes to Taking Back Our Neighborhoods. Remember Garden Circle off Englewood Street in West Jackson? It was not a place you'd want to live near or even drive through unless you were dumping trash illegally.
That was almost two years ago. It's a different story now.
"Garden Circle is a dumping area. Fast as they clean it up, they dumps again."
That was the frustration Myra Thomas and other Englewood Street residents shared with me when I talked with her in March 2010. She was fed up with the garbage dump that Garden Circle, across the street, had become. I even saw carcasses of dead animals tossed aside as I toured the area with a City of Jackson code enforcement officer and community improvement manager Claude Smith. Myra Thomas had lived there 35 years and she assured me then, that she had no plans to move.
Thomas said, "Oh yeah, it's gonna come back and I'm gonna be around here to see it."
Almost two years later, Thomas is beginning to see her neighborhood come back. Instead of trash and debris, there are fresh concrete slabs; the beginning of new homes. There is the rumble of heavy machinery clearing the way for new construction.
Community improvement manager Claude Smith said, "We had several cases over there where illegal dumping was going on and we finally go over there, we had all those structures removed accept one, I believe, and now there's some development coming into that area."
Eventually, Garden Circle will be transformed into a neat street lined with modest homes like the model already built, thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Jackson.
Smith said, "Yes, I believe Habitat has taken over that and they have several structures coming up now."
So, for Myra Thomas and other Englewood Street residents, taking back their neighborhood is no longer a dream, it's a work in progress. There will be 22 houses in the Garden Circle development. Cindy Griffin, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Jackson, says 15 are expected to be completed in May. WLBT will keep you posted.
Let us help you take back your neighborhood. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on Facebook or Twitter.
Copyright WLBT 2012. All Rights Reserved.