JACKSON, Miss. — Two people are working on an ambitious project in Jackson, Miss., but their efforts are not being seen. The project is called “Project Jackson,” but the two people aren’t who you might think.
A former Jackson police officer is taking over a town named “Jackson,” where he plans to try to make improvements in some of the more impoverished neighborhoods of the city.
The project’s website says that the new town is named after the founder of the Jackson Underground railroad, and aims to be a self-sustaining community free from external interference.
But Jackson police Capt. Mike Jones denies these claims. He said the town is not real and that the name he uses — “Jackson” — is the original name for a town built in 1885.
A former Jackson city judge — and the only black resident of the town, Jones said — is also part of the group organizing the project. He said the group is trying to raise money for upgrades including better roads, drainage and better electricity.
An employee at the local post office is also taking over a post office called “Jackson.” She has been working for the facility for several years, said her manager.
They are also trying to raise enough money to build an amusement park and other businesses within town limits.
“This is more about changing the way of life,” the manager said, adding the project is designed to improve the lives of the residents.
But the former police officer, who wants to remain anonymous because of police concerns, said he has concerns about the plans to raise money within the community. He said the town is a good thing — a place where he and his family can live.
He said his first concern is about how his kids are coming into town, about the quality of schooling, jobs and other resources at that location.
He said he has never seen “Jackson” before, that he doesn’t know whether to get involved or not, and that he is concerned that his old job will have negative impact on the community.
“I’m tired of that town being a community with no direction for myself and my kids,” he said. “No future.”
“The other side of that coin,” Jones said, is that the project is designed to improve access to resources for the community. “Any help they could possibly get to get the town up and running would be great.”
He said the project is also designed to help the