Consider This: Improving West Jackson - - Jackson, MS

Consider This: Improving West Jackson

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

West Jackson was once a vibrant area; today the streets are crumbling, abandoned houses and buildings are prevalent, and crime is a major issue.

I remember when the Metrocenter Mall opened. It was a big deal.

Ellis Avenue was a thriving area. There were car dealers and major businesses lining Highway 80.

In the 40 years since its heyday, the businesses relocated or closed and unfortunately, there was no plan to redevelop the community. It was abandoned and that’s led to the condition it’s in today.

There is an effort now underway, however, to begin the conversation to transform West Jackson. It is exciting to think of what it could become. And exciting to see City and community partners working together to make it a better place to live. It will take a lot of work, and it won’t happen overnight, but starting the effort is oftentimes the biggest hurdle.

The zoo, however, should not be part of that plan.

If we had no zoo in the metro area, but we wanted to build a new zoo, it would not be built in its current location. The proposed location at LeFleur’s Bluff is the right spot for a zoo. It’s easily accessible, more visible and ties in with the Museums and other attractions already there.

There is not enough time, money and resources for the zoo to survive at its current location. In fact, if the plans to move the zoo don’t come together soon, the zoo should shut down.

Plans for West Jackson should include ways to divide and repurpose the zoo property. That will take money and time, but it could become a showplace for the people who call West Jackson home.

In fact, the city could repurpose the hundreds of thousands of dollars it spends on the zoo and use it to kickstart the West Jackson transformation. Stop trying to save the zoo in West Jackson and instead look at that space as a blank canvas and reimagine what it could become.

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