HomeNewsCity’s Master Plan seeks to create cohesive design for different neighborhoods

City’s Master Plan seeks to create cohesive design for different neighborhoods

The City of Jackson Planning Commission and LRK Architects are sifting through competing interests and vastly different neighborhoods to create a cohesive design for new growth in the city. 

Thursday and Friday of last week, the commission worked with stakeholders in both the West Madison County subarea and Oman Arena subarea to learn what they would like to see design-wise, as both areas grow. This is part of the planning commission’s work to design four different subareas: the Downtown/Airways neighborhood, Oman Arena neighborhood, Jackson Plaza/Old Hickory neighborhood, and West Madison County.

Even though West Madison County is in one of the most rural parts of the county, and the Oman Arena in one of the most urban, the commission saw many of the same ideas: generational homes, pride in community, and growth.

West Madison County Sub Area

Thursday, the planning commission met with LRK Architects, farmers, industry leaders, and other stakeholders in West Madison County. It is by far the largest of the four sub areas, taking up most of West Jackson and Madison County at Interstate-40 and south. 

As BlueOval City gets closer to opening, city officials also believe that is the area most likely to grow, as it is the closest to the development. 

“So then you ask yourself, Where is everyone going to live? Because we’ve kind of tapped out on subdivisions of North and Northwest Jackson and Madison County. And of course, we have some infill that we can do, but Midtown and the other parts of the city are largely inhabited. And so when we think about areas like this, that still have jurisdiction, the planning commission can guide the development to be maybe a little bit more dense or more clustered or more walkable, and those are the things that we want to try to do,” Project Manager Lauren Kirk said after West Madison County’s meeting.  

The planning commission hopes they can guide the growth to make as much use of the space as possible. During the presentation at the end of the meeting, they described a small shopping center near the airport, to give travelers a place to eat and stay. They also described walkable subdivisions and trails leading through the industrial sites.

“Just making sure that everything fits together aesthetically, but also is an inviting place. And that lets you know that you were in West Jackson or Madison County, and there’s a pride there,” Kirk said. 

“We’re wanting to maintain the rural beauty that is out here and the character of the community and the pride that people have in generational farms, while also allowing for those who want to develop additional residential, maybe even some commercial that is closer to the airport. And of course, the industry growth that we’ve seen out here,” Kirk said. 

Oman Arena Sub Area

While the Oman Arena sub area is much more urban, the planning commission saw many of the same themes Friday during their meeting, as longtime residents spoke of the area’s history and pride. 

There are four schools, including Lane College in the sub area, meaning children can go to school in the same neighborhood from preschool to college. The neighborhood is also older, and many residents have lived there their entire lives. 

The commission also said specifically that they want to make sure long-time residents and families who have lived in that neighborhood continue to live there. 

“We had a phenomenal stakeholder discussion with various stakeholders that are in this area residents, business owners, those that lead public institutions like Jackson Housing Authority, Lane College, the school system, and it was really great to see everyone united around the fact that there is so much pride in this area already,” Kirk said. 

“We want to build on that pride, and restore that pride, by guiding the investments that come here to make sure that it honors the integrity of the neighborhood,” Kirk said, “That it is beautiful. That it’s safe. That kids can walk to school and have opportunities to do things that are fun and safe and enjoyable. And so we’re looking for green space, more commercial space.”

The commission also discussed uncovering Central Creek, as it flows through the city underground, to create trails connecting East Jackson to Downtown Jackson, and eventually Bemis. They also plan to redesign Lane Avenue to make it more conducive to foot and bike traffic. 

And those plans also might come sooner than later, as the Jackson-Madison County School System plans to turn the Oman Arena into the Hub City Central, with a football field and track adjacent to the arena. 

“The school system’s Hub City Central plan is supposed to be groundbreaking later this year. So I think a big opportunity is when you see some of these public institutions investing, more private investment will follow and maybe we’ll see some housing come to these vacant lots and things like that,” Kirk said. 

How you can contribute

The City of Jackson is still asking residents to complete the design surveys. The survey takes about ten minutes, and asks several multiple choice and open-ended questions. The link can be found here

Julia Ewoldt, julia@jacksonpost.news

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