JXN Museum Trail Officially Opens
JXN’s Museum Trail, a 2.5-mile route that stretches from downtown through Belhaven and LeFleur East between some of the city’s most prominent museums, has officially opened.
Cited as economic development, a tourism draw and promoter of physical health, construction began last fall on the trail that connects the Two Mississippi Museums with the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and the Mississippi Children’s Museum.
The Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership (GJCP) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony alongside key players and dignitaries – David Pharr, Melody Moody Thortis, Cynthia Buchanan, Hibbett Neil, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba and Ward 7 councilperson Virgi Lindsay among them.
Lindsay served as the first Executive Director of the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Foundation in 2001 and was charged with developing the 38 acres of trail property the foundation owned along with the City of Jackson.
“Only about 18 acres was useable,” she said of the challenging terrain, now home to the City-owned trail funded by federal and local grants along with corporate and individual dollars.
Mayor Lumumba, a senior at Callaway High School in 2001 at the inception of trail planning, said he is excited about how the trail serves as a connector and, more importantly, a signpost.
“This project represents our ability to have the community come alongside the City and Chamber… to use as a symbol of what we can do when we work together.”
Attorney and trail advocate David Pharr, who has been part of the project since day one, noted a litany of funders, donors and others who spurred the project through red tape and years of other issues and said, this is only the start.
“We’ve begun a new effort to expand the trail,” he said. “Resources are coming out of the woodwork.”
He mentioned Travis Crabtree and Salam Rida’s firm, Carbon Office, and Wier Boerner Allin, who will take part in the planning. “Stay tuned,” he said. “This is just the beginning.”
Jackson Heart Clinic’s Dr. Clay Hays, a longtime champion of the project, cited the Vision 2022 plan created by the GJCP more than a decade ago, noting regional trail systems and talent attraction as pillars. The connection to both was not lost on Dr. Hays.
“If we are going to have folks come back into Jackson, we need things like this to happen,” he said. “This trail is a symbol of what we can do together… (with) persistence, dedication, tenacity and grit. No more meetings, no more dreams, no more drawings – this trail has happened.”
More About the Trail
- The trail begins as a multi-use path at the corner of Mississippi Street and Jefferson Street, behind the Two Mississippi Museums. It crosses High Street to Spengler Street (which turns to Madison Street) where a paved path begins and continues to Laurel Street in Belhaven. From here, users exit west onto Laurel Street before turning right on Myrtle Street (a shared-use residential street) to Riverside Drive. The trail will eventually include a multi-use path that runs alongside Museum Drive to the Mississippi Children’s Museum.
- Most users park in the former lot of Dave’s Triple B off High Street on the south end. On the north end, users park under I-55 on Laurel Street.
- There are several points of entry through Belhaven Heights and Belhaven, most notably among them, at Belhaven Heights Park, at Moody Street, and at Harding Street. Residents of the surrounding neighborhoods have asked that users not access the trail through their private yards.
- The trail is for foot and non-motorized traffic only. Think walkers, runners, cyclists, strollers and children’s scooters.
- The trail is not lit. There are no restroom facilities on the trail.
- The asphalt path is approximately 1.3 miles. The total trail when completed is said to be 2.5 miles.
- You can donate to future trail enhancements through the JXN Trailblazers.