Fondren to get facelift with grant - - Jackson, MS

Fondren to get facelift with enhancement grant

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Fondren businesses and residents offered input on area improvements during a meeting Monday at Duling School in Jackson.

The public weighed in on future transportation enhancement.

Fondren business owners and residents will have a say in the future look of the district which is home to hip shops and retail stores.

Beautification improvements are on the horizon thanks to a $2.5 million dollar grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation and the City of Jackson.

"We're here to listen to you. This money is to deal specifically with how we maneuver, get around and all the amenities," said Ward 7 council representative Margaret Barrett Simon to the crowd of about 50.

She is credited with helping secure the grant.

"We've got some ideas of our own we'd like to help share with them," said Luke Lundemo.

Lundemo and wife Charlotte are Fondren residents who own Computer Coop and Fair Trade Green Handcrafted Gifts in the Rainbow Whole Foods Building on Old Canton Road.

Monday they attended a public meeting to offer their suggestions.

"We have a parking lot that comes right at the end of Lakeland Drive. That's the first sight that people get of Fondren, and we'd like to put some more greenery there to make it more beautiful rather than just seeing a bunch of cars and tires," said Luke Lundemo.

"A traffic light a the top of Fondren Place up on the hill because it's so hard to get in and out of when Fondren Court dead ends into north State Street," added Charlotte Lundemo.

Officials with the Fondren Renaissance Foundation wrote the grant for a more pedestrian friendly transformation to include sidewalks, lighting, landscaping and other features.

It is designed to compliment University Medical Center's future development.

"Jason Watkins and The Watkins Group are looking at doing what is known as the strip down where the Capri Theater is. Mike Peters has an option to do some stuff here on Duling in addition to Duling Hall and Duling Green," said Fondren Renaissance Foundation Executive Director Jim Wilkirson.

"Traditionally we go off and kind of design things and come back later on and say here it is, but this project being somewhat unique we're trying to get the citizens input up front," said Jackson Public Works Director Dan Gaillet.

"It's gonna help tremendously with improving the image of Fondren," added Luke Lundemo.

Beautification improvements will take place in a triangle along Old Canton Road to Duling Street to State Street and back to Fondren Place.

The funding is not designated for road or pavement work .

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