Taking Back Our Neighborhoods - Midtown Partners - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods - Midtown Partners

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By Howard Ballou  - bio | email | twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - There is always plenty of discussion about Jackson and often it's not good.

But in an area from Woodrow Wilson to Fortification and West Street to Mill street, better known as midtown Jackson, there is a group of people who are letting their actions speak louder than their words when it comes to taking back their neighborhood. 

Children are learning about aviation through computerized flight simulators.

It's just part of what they do after school in this midtown Jackson neighborhood; something you may not expect to see in an economically depressed area.

Thanks to the North Midtown Community Development Corporation and Good Samaritan Midtown, families on this side of town have been receiving a chance to help themselves for the past 15 years.

The two are now one group called Midtown Partners. 

"One was focusing on housing and the other was focusing on education," Executive Director Kristi Hendrix said. "We came together last year, June first and officially merged so we could provide more of a comprehensive approach to serving the families of midtown." 

Monica Cannon grew up in the midtown area.

She's seen good times and not so good times here.

Cannon moved away briefly and has been back for 13 years.

Cannon says she has no plans to leave. 

"Love this neighborhood, love the people in the neighborhood, love the partners in the neighborhood and again, you know, we get so many requests for outside the neighborhood, this neighborhood, on some of the ways, some of the programs we have, how can we duplicate in other parts of the city and we're always open to sharing information," Cannon said.

"So, the non-profit is not here just to provide services, but we're actually here to impact and build capacity in the neighborhood," Hendrix said. "We really like to take a holistic approach to serving the families in the neighborhood and what we find in many households is there's actually 3 generations." 

That means programs covering early childhood education, daycare and a meals with wheels program for senior citizens here.

Midtown has had its highs and lows, but businessmen like Pat Boland, who has owned CS's restaurant for 32 years, says he's definitely seeing an upswing.

Boland said that Midtown Partners was "the best thing that's happened in the neighborhood in 32 years". 

"And when you look at the statistics, we actually have the lowest crime rate of Precinct 4 which is pretty amazing to most people because they perceive us as being a very dangerous, violent area and we know that's not the case," Hendrix said.

Both Hendrix and Cannon say you can talk about and analyze Jackson's problems all you want, but in the case of midtown, actions speak louder than words. 

Let us know how we can help you take back your neighborhood.

If you've already turned your community around, we want to know how you did it.

Just send an email to hballou@wlbt.com.

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