Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Face of Jackson, oh How it’s Changed

Yes, when people ask me do I enjoy spending time in Jackson, my answer isn’t usually an honest yes. Jackson has a lot to offer a 23 year old kid, but then again, it leaves a lot to be desired.

I grew up in Jackson. South Jackson to be specific. My childhood years were spent like most regular kids. I played a lot of little league baseball, rode my bike, played backyard football, went to church weekly, you know, kid stuff. I can’t count the hours I spent at Levell Woods Park hoping to become the next Babe Ruth and all the time practicing up on my skating skills at the old rink on Cooper Road. I’m sure if I thought hard enough I could still remember setting the high score on the old Street Fighter II machine at Diamond Jim’s in MetroCenter, or trying to hit a golf ball past the windmill at Golf World. I always hated that windmill.

But like all kids, innocence wears off. Sometimes things change even before you ask them to. All the time I spent growing up, not noticing the downfall of Jackson in front of my own eyes leaves a lot to be desired in me. Where is that fun, that excitement, that energy that Jackson I knew growing up used to have?

Now I’m about to take a leap of faith into adulthood called college graduation. This could be my time to really make Jackson shine. This could be everyone reading this blog’s chance to make a difference. But how do we do that? How do we overcome so many of the problems the city faces to bring back that sense of innocence to all of us? To prove that Jackson can do it, and it can be something special?

I think its safe to say there’s a passion about living here embedded in me somewhere. I guess there’s something in me that won’t let me walk away and just watch the city perish…


Anonymous said...

Things haven't been the same since Capitol Street stopped being two way and the fireworks were stopped on New Years' Eve. Was that 1974?

Speaking of skating we'd love to see the Ice Park get rehabilitated for cycling, inline and ice skating, skateboarding and kayak access to the Pearl - what about you?

Anonymous said...

I looked for contact information on here but didn't see an email address. Would one of you shoot me an email at There is a group, the Jackson Progressives, that might be of interest to you.

Anonymous said...

The preeminence of the automobile and the highways that come with it destroyed most of our core urban environments. The racial tensions of the 1960s & white flight from the cities finished off the urban cores. If younger folk elect to re-populate downtown areas it could come back.

Baron.matthews said...

Good luck! It would be wonderful to see the city change for the better (which it has been). It is all in a bit of baby steps, which is how it probably works best. The one problem I have seen in the various groups I am a member of, is that everyone is fixing the symptoms (lets build new stuff, lets bring in new people, lets change the government, etc) and no one wants to address the issue of families and how everything really starts at home. You can argue till you are blue in the face that education (education, education) is the key, and it is to an extent, but when you have a family life that doesn't support it, you aren't going to get very far. I speak, of course, in generalizations as we all know of people that have overcome diversity to really make something of themselves, but those people are few and far between. One might argue that it is natural selection doing its job, weeding out the under achievers and only letting those with the drive and desire thrive (not that I want to get political here, but it does seem quite wrong to overly burden these few people with additional taxes to try and "help" those not trying), but what percent is it that excels... If you go by the 80/20 rule (I would say it is less than 20%), you still have 80% living in a family situation that does not promote education or change for the bettering of society, but rather a self appreciation. Anyway, I have rambled much to much! As I said before, good luck, I am fighting the good fight with you.