A new public park has been created in the City of Jackson. At their Tuesday, May 26 meeting, the Jackson City Council voted to create a new park in a neighborhood south of Downtown Jackson.
The new park, which is located on S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive between E. Biddle and E. Mason streets, is named Workers Memorial Park. The park makes use of two existing spaces surrounding the former McCulloch Elementary School. The school building closed in 2017 and has since been re-purposed by a mental health agency, Segue, Inc. The property’s playground on MLK Drive and open green space along Cooper Street is no longer needed by Segue, so the agency has donated the properties to the City for use as a public park. Playground equipment and basketball courts are already constructed on the MLK Drive side of the property and the open green space remains undeveloped, but has access to the City’s main pedestrian trail, the MLK Equality Trail.
Mayor Derek Dobies, who spearheaded the new park’s creation, says the park’s name recognizes the importance of workplace safety regulations and honors those who have lost their lives due to workplace accidents. “The name also supports frontline workers who are currently putting their lives at risk due to environmental hazards caused by COVID-19,” Mayor Dobies said. “This park will be a community collaboration. Local labor organizations are interested in helping with the development of the new park and Jackson businesses have also expressed interest in honoring their workforce at the park.”
Along with this new park, the MLK Drive corridor is seeing new investment this year from the City of Jackson. MLK between E. Franklin and E. Morrell will see a large re-construction project this summer, which includes building a roundabout at the intersection of MLK and Morrell. City leaders are also working on creating initiatives to support existing businesses and attract new ones to the MLK Drive corridor.
While this area has officially been declared a park, the City Council has not yet approved any funding for largescale park improvements.