New park, new development for Fondren - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

New park, new development for Fondren

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By Cheryl Lasseter - bio|email|twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - As ground is broken for Fondren Park at Northview Drive and Dunbar Street in Jackson Wednesday, it's another step in the right direction for the historic district that's been growing at an impressive rate.

Fondren Park will include a walking trail, a pavilion and a playground.

"There's going to be a flat area open with no trees for kids to have a short field to play soccer," said Bill Scruggs, president of the Fondren Renaissance Foundation.

The 2.5 acre park will be funded through a $600,000 HUD grant.

People who live near the park are excited, and eager to help on all projects.

"Northview residents are really thrilled about the park, but we would like to feel more included, that we're a part of the planning process," says Jenny Nelson, a 15-year Northview Drive resident.

From planning to construction, development in Fondren's business district has been flowing smoothly. The old Duling School has transformed nicely into a shopping center with The Auditorium, a special events spot, along with various shops, and a tacos and tapas restaurant under construction. A $2 million MDOT grant will pave the way for new street lamps, sidewalks and landscaping in Fondren.

And in the coming months, the nation's eyes will be on Fondren as it provides the backdrop for scenes in the major motion picture The Help.

"They're going to be all over the neighborhood in the next few weeks, doing some of the facades to make it look like back in the 1950s," said Mike Peters, of Fondren-based Mike Peters Real Estate.

Earlier this year, business owners in Fondren experienced a string of burglaries and met with Jackson Police. Commander Kenneth Goodrum says patrols were increased for a while, and crime in the area has since declined dramatically.

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