HomeOpinionOPINION: City making progress in ensuring park safety

OPINION: City making progress in ensuring park safety

I remember a couple years back when Jackson and Madison County were celebrating their bicentennial anniversaries, there were a number of events throughout the year.

Throughout that year, Jackson Mayor Scott Conger made a few speeches where he went over the history of Jackson starting from when it was founded until its 200th birthday in August of 2022.

As he went over that history and mentioned a couple of family members who’ve been mayor in the past leading up to his own administration, he mentioned one phrase on more than one occasion: Progress if not perfection.

That meant that Jackson will probably never be a perfect city. In fact, perfection is probably unattainable because with nearly 70,000 citizens, that means there are nearly 70,000 visions of perfection.

So will Jackson ever be a perfect city? Not to everyone.

But can Jackson be better? Definitely, which was one of the points Conger was making in those bicentennial speeches.

If Jackson is a little better today than it was yesterday, than that’s success. And whether you’re coaching a sports team, running a small business, educating students, leading an entire city or doing pretty much anything on a daily basis, if you’re accomplishing the task of being a little better than you were the day before, that’s a noble accomplishment.

Last month, the City of Jackson was faced with an urgent problem from a number of its citizens that warranted immediate and documented attention when shots were fired at North Park while a number of youth soccer teams were practicing among other regular activities that would happen on any given Monday evening in the park.

Two days later, Conger and leadership from Jackson Police Department and the Parks and Recreation Department addressed the concerns of affected citizens as well as answering questions from local media.

They outlined a number of actions they were taking to make things more safe in North Park, as well as every park inside Jackson city limits.

Last week, I took some time to get a couple of slow laps in on the walking trail at the park and saw with my own eyes some of the actions that have been taken.

Light bulbs were being replaced. Other lights have been installed. One thing that wasn’t emphasized if mentioned at all was parking blocks have been installed in the parking lot where the shots were fired near some of the soccer fields.

What’s the point of that? One of the concerns of citizens who live adjacent to the park was how often cars would come into that specific lot and sit for a while waiting for someone to meet them (I’ll let the reader speculate what the meet-ups were for since I have no evidence supporting any speculation). But they also did a bunch of donuts in that lot.

With those parking stops in place, donuts are still possible, but they’re more difficult because probably a lot of those younger drivers aren’t experienced enough yet to turn a tight donut inside those stops.

If they can’t turn donuts, that probably decreases the non-park-related activity traffic of the lot. If that traffic is decreased, then that decreases the number of speculation meet-ups happening there, which decreases the possibility of shots fired in the area.

The people who were at North Park on Aug. 21 avoided tragedy that afternoon, and it’s still possible that something similarly tragic could still happen with children involved.

But it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate that Jackson City leadership is doing what they told us a month ago they would do to ensure safety in the city’s parks.

I pray it’s enough. It’s definitely better than nothing.

Brandon Shields is the managing editor of The Jackson Post. Contact him at brandon@jacksonpost.news. Follow him on Twitter @JSEditorBrandon or Instagram @Editorbrandon.



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