Taking Back Our Neighborhoods- Fondren skate dispute - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods- Fondren skate dispute

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Tonight's Taking back our neighborhoods report takes us to Jackson's Fondren district.

Folks who live on and around 355 Decelle Street said their peaceful community has been shattered by a skateboard park built in the backyard of this address.

They said they're not getting any relief from city officials so they called 3 On Your Side for help.

Jean Pettigrew has lived on Decelle Street since 1953. Now, 85-years-old, Pettigrew says it has always been a quiet and peaceful neighborhood, until about a year ago.

Pettigrew said, "Well, my quality of life is gone to zero."

The reason, says Pettigrew is a skate board bowl her next door neighbor built in his backyard.

She said, "I have a bed in my back room that I sit on to watch television and I can tell when they're skating because the posts on my bed vibrates."

Connor McCallister is an attorney representing Pettigrew and other neighbors who object to the skate board bowl. He claims more than skating goes on at 355 Decelle Street.

McCallister elaborated, "Drinking beer. Different types of smells coming from, aromas coming from down back there that people in the neighborhood recognize; know what I mean?"

He continued, "Trying to get the city to do something about it; haven't been able to get them to."

According to Bennie Hopkins, planning director for the City of Jackson, that's because the owner of the skate bowl has a right to have it.

Hopkins said, "We're looking at it as accessory structure to the principal structure which is the house. It's no different than a tennis court, swimming pool, basketball court or anything of that nature."

Hopkins said any other issue, such as excessive noise, is a police matter and the owner of the skate bowl, 38-year-old Frank Henn, said there have been plenty of visits, by police, for no legitimate reason.

Henn said, "I do feel harassed, you know. I'm under constant surveillance. They've got me on video."

Henn, a long time skate board enthusiast, says the skate bowl in his backyard is the realization of a lifelong dream and a couple of his neighbors are turning it into a nightmare.

Henn said, "I feel like they're just calling police and saying whatever to get them to come out there and hope they catch me doing something illegal when it's just not happening."

And Henn said he has, unsuccessfully, reached out to those who have complained.

Henn said, "I just wish they'd talk to me and we could come to some sort of compromise."

So for Jean Pettigrew and other neighbors upset with Henn, perhaps a meeting is in order to help them take back their neighborhood.

We will check back with all parties involved in the skateboard dispute and give you an update.

Let us help you take back your neighborhood.Just send an email to hballou@wlbt.com or contact me on Facebook or Twitter.

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