HomeNewsCity of Jackson to invest $4.3 million on parks, including skate park...

City of Jackson to invest $4.3 million on parks, including skate park and pickleball courts

The Jackson City Council approved the initial request to invest $4.3 on 12 parks throughout the city at the February City Council meeting. However, the city will only be paying for half of that. 

In front of a large crowd, including pickleball players and skateboarders, Park Recreation Manager for the City’s Recreation and Parks Dept. Christi David presented the request to seek a grant from the Local Park and Recreation Fund. The grants have not been awarded since the pandemic, so cities are being given more funds to complete projects. 

“It’s a heavy lift, and we have a long way to go to get our parks up to where they need to be,” Mayor Scott Conger said after the meeting. “I think with the plan that we have utilizing those national funds, we can maximize our effort by minimizing the impact on our local budget. So, we’re looking at close to $5 million just investment in our parks.”

The motion passed 8-0, as Richard Donnell was out of town. Once the motion passed, applause erupted from the meeting room. 

“I can’t stress enough how that just means the world to us,” said Colton Taylor, one of the people who have been advocating for a new skate park in Jackson. 

The new park is planned to be built at Matchpoint Park, the new name for the park on N. Highland Ave., where there are multiple tennis courts and a disc golf course. It will replace the current skate park at Muse Park that has fallen into disrepair.

“It’s really unexpected to see something like this come together so quickly and have so much support,” Taylor said, “Because we come from a community that does not expect city help, you know, being skateboarders and all. Seeing so much support come from Christi and seeing how hard she’s worked for everything, she really has gone above and beyond for us.” 

“I’ve worked closely with the skate park guys, as I call them, for probably 18 months now,” Christi David said, “We’ve been working on developing a plan for them. And they’re just really genuine guys, when I got to meet with them a couple of weeks ago and say, ‘Hey, guys, I think we’re going to fully fund your skatepark.’ The emotion that came across their face was that’s all I needed, was to see how excited they were to know that their dream is really going to happen.”

The skatepark is expected to be one of the first projects on the to-do list, which will be completed over the next three years. Other projects on the list include the following: 

  • Conger Park: New lighting and playground, along with repurposing tennis courts into pickleball courts.
  • Malesus Park: New playground and ADA walking path, along with installing new pickleball courts and remodeling current tennis courts. 
  • North Park: New playground and splash pad, along with remodeling three tennis courts into pickleball courts. 
  • Centennial Park: New playground.
  • Bennett Park: New playground and pavilion. 
  • TR White Sportsplex: New playground, shaded structures, and ADA walking path. 
  • North Side Community Center: remodel interior to include kitchen and new bathrooms. 
  • Windy City Road (new park): Install playground, pavilion, and parking lot. 
  • Matchpoint Park: New skatepark
  • Shirlene Mercer Park: Repair walking trail.
  • Wallace Road Park: New walking trail, parking lot, and lighting
  • Stella Duncan Park: Install a building with new restrooms. 

The grant is reimbursable, so as the City completes the projects, they will be reimbursed. David expects work on some of the projects to begin as early as May. 

Other Highlights from City Council

The City Council also approved rezoning 42 acres for a new subdivision on its first reading. The project is located off Chickasaw Dr. and will be a residence for adults with disabilities. Some residents in the area had concerns about wildlife and traffic, since the area is mostly wooded and secluded from traffic. The developers said the 42 acres will only hold about 20 homes and a clubhouse/office, and most of the land will remain the same. The motion passed 8-0. 

Several codes amendments were passed 8-0, including the proposal for a new audit committee. The audit committee is currently combined with the budget committee, and this will separate the two. The budget committee will now be sending out public notice. The other codes amendment is now requiring the Jackson Transit Authority to submit a budget to the City Council by the end of April and present expenditures of $5,000 or more. 

The City Council will also be taking a look at the needs of Jackson City Court, as the department is facing problems with hiring and paperwork processing. We’ll be doing more research into this issue for later stories. 

Work is moving forward on the Jackson Plaza acquisition. The Jackson City Council approved $122,800 to complete Task 1. This pays for the sub-area master plan before more work can be completed on the site. 

The City Council will be fulfilling its agreement to build a Bicentennial Park on the corner of W. Main St., Lafayette St., and Airways Blvd. This is the area commonly referred to as Triangle Park. The $140,000 will build a retaining wall, among other things. This is the site where the new time capsule was buried in November of 2021 at the Madison County 200th anniversary celebration. 

The Jackson Fire Dept. is applying for a $500,000 grant (10% City match) to replace Self Contained Breathing Apparatuses. Deputy Chief Don Friddle says the current apparatuses they use will be phased out in coming years, so new ones will be necessary. Julia Ewoldt, julia@jacksonpost.news

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