Developers discuss creating a trail through Jackson

Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 8:25 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - For the last 20 years, urban designer Ryan Gravel has been working to connect 45 neighborhoods in Atlanta with a trail — but one that also stimulates economic growth. Now, he’s giving his opinion on how Jackson could do a similar project.

“There’s a ton of opportunity here that when it is discovered, I think it has an enormous amount of potential,” Gravel said. “These kinds of things are happening everywhere. Every city I go to, they’re working on some kind of project — repurposing an old railroad, an obsolete urban,

degraded urban waterway and obsolete roadway, something is going on.”

His plan for Jackson is to connect the museum district of east Jackson, through neighborhoods in Belhaven, to the farmers market downtown using existing bike and walking trails.

Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay says she thinks the project could make a big impact on the capital city.

“It could be a very positive force, not only from a safety standpoint but also from an economic development standpoint,” said Councilwoman Lindsay. “We know there’s a very strong correlation between these trails and greater development around them.”

How much revenue and economic growth could a project create?

“So of the 22-mile loop, we’ve spent $500 million on it. That’s mostly for land acquisition and construction of new parks and trails. In the same time period, we’ve seen over $7 billion of private investment,” Gravel said.

But the high price tag wouldn’t just fall on one group. Gravel says the city and tax districts could help make the project a reality with public and private partners and state and federal grants.

“I think we cannot look at our city in a vacuum,” Councilwoman Lindsay said. “We have to also be planning for the future, not only from a water standpoint but also from planning such as a trail system that makes our city more attractive.”

Now this project is just in the preliminary stage.

Designs are being drawn up, and there appears to be some interest from private investors.

Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.