Neighborhood Comeback? - - Jackson, MS

Jackson 05/09/07

Neighborhood Comeback?

by Jon Kalahar


It was ten years ago then Mayor Harvey Johnson promised to rebuild the area around the Smith-Robinson Museum with federal money. Now the neighborhood is no better off than when Johnson first made his promise. Still, residents aren't ready to give up hope.

You definitely couldn't blame residents for giving up. But now something better may be on the horizon. Even though it's not the promise of a quick fix, it is something to look forward to.

If you walk down Bloom Street, you can't help but notice these yellow signs...there's one on just about every house. They warn no one can enter or occupy the structure. It was while code enforcement was marking these homes on Bloom that they discovered an illegal chop shop.

 "Evidently someone's been using this location for operating a small chop shop and we're gonna monitor this area," Sgt. Jeremiah Jones, Jackson Police.

Officers recovered car motors, transmissions and parts. They also discovered cable and power hooked up illegally. And check out inside these houses, someone's been living here, most likely rent free.

"We'll approach this situation from a multiple task perspective as far as getting it taken care of," said Jones.

But that's not all, five drug arrests were made Monday. That's music to the ears of residents who want their neighborhood cleaned up.

"Ain't too much of nothing happened since then," said Johnny Fred, Jackson resident.

Johnny Fred remembers when Mayor Johnson promised to help. Now he's glad several years later something's finally being done.

"They used to not be able to sit out on the porch here, but now they can sit, with this mayor," said Fred.

The first sign, this neighborhood may be coming back.

Mayor Frank Melton says he has a buyer for the row houses between Bloom and Farish. The buyer wants to clean up the houses and use them for Katrina victims from the Gulf Coast. If a deal can not be worked out between the mortgage company that currently owns those houses and the new buyer, Mayor Melton says he will simple have to tear them down.

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