- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A nonprofit group is tearing down abandoned buildings to create a cleaner, safer space near the Jackson State University campus.

Revitalize Mississippi Inc. is doing the work for free for the JSU Development Foundation, The Clarion-Ledger reported (https://on.thec-l.com/2ldFyyf ).

The foundation bought the properties more than four years ago, planning to build a dormitory on the lots. But financial problems stalled that plan.

Residents and members of a church in the neighborhood near downtown Jackson have complained about an increase in illegal activity because of the 22 abandoned structures, including homes and an old apartment complex.

Revitalize Mississippi will demolish the structures and clean up several additional properties, turning the area into green space until it can be developed.



JSU Foundation director Sandra Hodge said Revitalize Mississippi’s involvement has allowed the foundation to direct money to other needs, including scholarships.

Chris Bunley, who lives next door to the dilapidated properties, attended a demolition “party” held Monday by Working Together Jackson. He said after years of living next to run-down homes, he looks forward to watching his neighborhood thrive.

The president of Revitalize Mississippi is Jim Johnston, a retired doctor. He formed the group in 2015 with the goal of improving the community through private partnerships. The nonprofit provides volunteer work to the public and other community organizations.

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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