Jackson city officials considering moving JPD Precinct Four to former Batte Furniture building

Batte Furniture and Interiors announces closing after 136 years
Batte Furniture and Interiors announces closing after 136 years(Source: WLBT)
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 1:06 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - With its lease at Colonial Mart up, the Jackson Police Department is looking at relocating its Northeast Jackson police precinct to Batte Furniture.

Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba made the announcement at Tuesday’s Jackson City Council meeting.

The news comes as the city works to purchase the former furniture store, which is located along East Northside Drive.

“We talked about the Batte Furniture building that we intend to put Tisdale in,” he said. “It is more than sufficient to house a multitude of needs there.”

Ward One Councilman Ashby Foote brought up the issue of moving Precinct Four, saying that numerous residents along Old Canton Road do not want to see it moved.

He said numerous people have contacted his office, while others have posted their concerns on social media.

“In the last nine to 12 months, as the crime epidemic has taken place, we heard increasing gunshots heard in that vicinity. Near McLeod School, there has been a lot of activity that has really made citizens nervous,” he said. “They want (the precinct) to stay right where it is.”

The precinct is located in the Colonial Mart shopping center along Parkway Drive and has been there for years.

However, the lease is up on that location, and city officials are looking to move to a new facility that is more suitable to housing the precinct.

“We have issues with that facility, repair issues with that facility,” Lumumba said. “It isn’t sufficient to meet the needs of everyone there.”

The Batte building, meanwhile, is 14,000-square-feet and three stories, meaning it can accommodate a number of city services.

Lumumba went on to say that Jackson does not own the facility at Colonial and would not be held “hostage” by a landlord there.

He points to the fact that the city had been in talks about extending its lease while it looked for a new location, but the owners there are unwilling to allow a temporary extension.

Davis, meanwhile, said residents would not see a decrease in police coverage once the precinct relocates. “Police precincts are where most officers do roll call... they do 15 minutes and go out and patrol the Precinct Four community,” he said.

Precinct Four runs from County Line Road in the North to Woodrow Wilson Avenue in the south. East to west, it runs from the Pearl River to the railroad tracks at North State Street. It takes in Northeast Jackson, Fondren, and Belhaven.

Ward Three Councilman Kenneth Stokes supports moving the precinct to Batte Furniture but said the city should consider opening a satellite location along Old Canton to quell neighbors’ concerns.

“That would be the best thing that could happen to this city,” he said, referring to the Batte building. “We have to save Highland Village. If we lose Highland Village, that devastation - that cancer - will eat up all of I-55.”

The Batte building is located near the I-55 North and Northside Drive interchange. The facility used to be home to Batte Furniture and Interiors, which announced it was closing in 2019.

Lumumba previously announced that the city was planning to relocate the Charles Tisdale Library there. Tisdale closed in 2017 due to black mold and flooding issues. Since then, the building has fallen into severe disrepair and has been ransacked by the homeless.

“You have apartment complexes there with hundreds of people,” Stokes added. “It’s stable now. With (an increased) police presence, that whole area will slowly come back.”

It was not known when Precinct Four would be relocated and it was not clear if the city had officially purchased the Batte building. More details are to come.

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