City considering cobblestone medians, trees to revitalize Jackson Avenue

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- When you hear Jackson Avenue, what comes to mind? This time next year, the city is hoping you'll think of a charmingly-decorated, pedestrian-friendly commercial district complete with cobblestones and street-side seating.

Verdis McNutt has been living near Jackson longer than she cares to say, and she's already seen it change once.

"There were not any vacant lots. There were not any boarded up houses," said McNutt.

McNutt said she's ready to see it change again as the city embarks on project to beautify a 10-block stretch of Jackson from Bellevue to Watkins.

Paul Young, director of the city's housing and community development division, said $1 million has already been allocated for the improvements to Jackson Avenue and more money could be set aside in the future.

"It's a gateway into downtown, it's a gateway out of downtown," said Young.

The city is discussing putting in cobblestone medians, trees, wider sidewalks and even what it terms "street furniture."
None of these plans are concrete, just possibilities.

Tuesday night they asked North Memphians for their ideas.

"It's gonna make the street more walkable where people can walk up and down the street and visit new businesses as they come to Jackson," said Quincey Morris, director of the Klondike Smokey City Community Development Corporation.

But there's little comfort on walking somewhere you don't feel save.

Shelby County Commissioner acknowledges that crime is a problem, but said the project is an important step in bringing the area up.

"It's a start. I think once people see, start feeling good and look at some of the stuff that's gonna be going on with this new Jackson Corridor area, I think it's a win-win for everybody," said Burgess.

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