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Major redevelopment set for for MLK Drive on Jackson's southside

Jackson City Hall Facade
City of Jackson
The project will be partially funded by a more than $6 million federal grant the city received in July.

Infrastructure improvements are coming to a one-mile stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive on the city of Jackson’s south side.

The redesign plan was approved at Wednesday’s city council meeting. The project will be partially funded by a more than $6 million federal grant the city received in July.

City spokesperson Aaron Dimick says the project aims to improve a stretch of MLK Drive between East Morrell Street and East South Street.

“On the street surface, we're going to see a new roadway which includes new pavement, sidewalks and more pedestrian connectivity and trails, lighting and landscaping and everything like that,” he said.

“So, really the goal here is to get the neighborhood ready for investment."

Dena Morgan has lived in the community for more than thirty years. She says the area has long been neglected, and she’s excited to see this new focus on making improvements.

“The people who have lived there the longest—we want to make sure that their voices are heard. And they get everything that they've been waiting on for a long time, such as housing, and we need a grocery store,” she said.

The work to revitalize the area began in 2020 through the formation of the city’s MLK Corridor Improvement Authority. The group was created to focus on the enhancement and revitalization of Jackson’s southside.

With the establishment of a corridor improvement authority for the area, the city directs taxpayer dollars to make focused improvements based on an assessment of the community's needs.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 15% of residents living in that area are experiencing poverty.

“There's a lot of poverty in the area, and I want to make sure that the residents in the area come first and ... they have all the resources and the information that's needed for them to come first,” Morgan said.

The Jackson City Council voted unanimously to invest more than $1 million into the design and construction engineering of the one-mile corridor. The firm in charge of that project is Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc.

The redesign will include replacement of sewer lines as well as lead service lines, sidewalk construction and new street lighting installations.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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