Zoo Blues

The news about the Jackson Zoo has people talking and I’m curious to see how it plays out. Long story short, the Jackson Zoo and its leaders would like to move the Zoo to a new location – LeFleur’s Bluff – within the City of Jackson. As the years have moved along the attendance at the Zoo has declined. The decision to move has also come about due to a lack of funding needed to make improvements ranging from appearance of the Zoo to the upkeep of the animals. The needed improvements have been a gripe of many that have complained about the Zoo.

On the surface one would think this is a win-win. The Zoo gets a new location and becomes a renewed attraction for the City. That’s not how everyone feels. The major concern is “what happens to the land if the Zoo moves?” I have this concern myself. I’m glad that it is being taken into consideration and I don’t feel it should stop the Zoo from being relocated. The concern is a fair one when you factor in the current climate of West Jackson. It is also fair to acknowledge that – over the years – not much has been done to help the Zoo survive in its current location. There are a lot of ideas about what to do with the land (approximately 110-acres) to be left behind. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a revenue stream to push those ideas into reality.

The dialogue around the Zoo is interesting because it has people in Jackson and the surrounding metro area talking. That’s always a good thing. The problem comes when there is no more talking to be done and action is needed. We’ve seen this with various events and situations. I’ll let you all run them off to yourselves. Buckle up because there is one narrative about Jackson that needs to die. We must stop saying there is nothing to do here. A lot factors into that statement, too much for me to type. I’ll leave it at there are things here and there’s plenty to do. Apply yourself accordingly because that sentiment won’t change unless we want it to. The Jackson Zoo could be celebrating 2 centennials in the coming years. In 1919, the original Zoo was housed in the Central Fire Station in downtown Jackson (now the Jackson Chamber of Commerce Building). Then in 1921, the City Council voted to situate the Zoo in its current location. I’m sure the Zoo is planning for both accordingly and I hope most in the Jackson Metro Area are doing the same. There’s no reason to proclaim “there is nothing to do” when these events roll around.

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