Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Farish St. houses razed - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Farish St. houses razed

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The property continued to deteriorate; vagrants set fires inside, nearly burning some of them down. The property continued to deteriorate; vagrants set fires inside, nearly burning some of them down.
No more burned out, shotgun houses or lots choked with thick overgrowth. No more burned out, shotgun houses or lots choked with thick overgrowth.
Freelon said his vision for this property is to turn it into an entertainment destination. Freelon said his vision for this property is to turn it into an entertainment destination.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

They've been eyesores for years. They've also been the source of much political controversy. But Mayor Choke Lumumba has made it clear he wants to clean up Jackson.

We're talking about the block of abandoned shotgun houses along Farish Street that have been in various states of deterioration for a long time. Despite efforts by Jackson's Historic Preservation Commission to save them, the structures are now a thing of the past.

In a 2007 interview, the late Frank Melton, then Jackson mayor, said,

"The houses are coming down. The ones that are drug infested. The ones that do not fit the décor of the neighborhoods," said the late Frank Melton, then Jackson Mayor. "They're coming down and that's it. That's the bottom line."

Melton was talking about a dozen old houses on Farish Street houses after the Jackson City Council declared a 6-month moratorium on tearing them down. The city's Historic Preservation Commission wanted to revitalize the structures as part of the historic Farish Street District. It never happened.

The property continued to deteriorate; vagrants set fires inside, nearly burning some of them down; weeds and brush took over. All of it eventually auctioned off; sold to a private investor. 

That private investor is Jackson attorney and nightclub owner, Harvey Freelon, who responded to city code enforcement's mission to clean it up one way or the other.

"Well, let's say I haven't taken it upon myself; it is an investment, said Freelon. "I own the property, I purchased the property, of course we want to see economic development in the City of Jackson."

"If the area's going to grow, everyone has to feel positive about where they're living , so the first step is we have to clean up," Freelon added.

Freelon said his vision for this property is to turn it into an entertainment destination.

"Whatever business I have on the drawing board, it's going to be a business that draws traffic; lots of traffic; that's what we're concerned with," said Freelon. "So without telling you too much in detail, as far as what we got but we do want to change the area and bring in people to the area; people to live, work, shop, eat, play, just enjoy themselves."

So, after years of unsightly neglect, this is what folks who live in this Farish street neighborhood now see; no more burned out, shotgun houses or lots choked with thick overgrowth. Residents are hoping what grows here now will help them take back their historic neighborhood.

Let us help you take back your neighborhood. Just send an email to hballou@wlbt.com or contact me on Facebook or Twitter.

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