Successful results for Efforts to create ‘super neighborhood association;’ work continues.
It was nearly nine years ago when Northsider Leland Speed envisioned creating a “super neighborhood association” to curb blight, fight crime and increase property values in Northeast Jackson.
Today, that “super neighborhood association” is LeFleur East.
Eight years after the foundation was incorporated, fruits of the nonprofit’s work can be seen across the Northside.
Construction on the first phase of the LeFleur East Trail got under way recently on Eastover Drive.
On Old Canton Road, the first step to building a new entrance to Parham Bridges Park has been completed, with the demolition of the old Jackson Police Precinct Four building.
Also, beautification work has been done along Lakeland Drive and at the I-55 North/Northside Drive interchange.
Even so, for Executive Director Stacey Jordan now is not the time for the foundation to rest on its laurels.
Fund-raising efforts for additional projects continue, as do efforts for LeFleur East leaders to better inform residents about what’s happening in their community.
“For us, it’s about beautification, communication and well-being,” she said. “We’re trying to let business owners and residents know all the positives.”
Recently, Jordan was prepping for LeFleur East’s annual fund-raiser, the Flash Dash 5K and fun run.
The event is slated for Thursday, June 14, at 7 p.m., at the parking lot of Highland Village.
Also, the group is in the preliminary phases of developing a “Friends of Parham Bridges Park” group to further oversee park fund-raising and improvements.
Plans are to transform Parham Bridges into a world-class tennis center.
Hemphill Construction was hired last fall to begin work. The firm’s $98,000 contract was paid for in part with $15,000 in funds from LeFleur East.
Relocating the entrance opens up space to expand the park’s tennis offerings.
Tennis officials want to add an additional four courts, which will help Parham Bridges attract larger tournaments.
The foundation is also eyeing more beautification projects along major LeFleur East thoroughfares.
In 2013, LeFleur East worked alongside the Fondren Renaissance Foundation to add new landscaping to Exit 100, the Northside Drive/I-55 North interchange. The foundation has also worked with District One Supervisor Robert Graham to secure grants to beautify the medians along Lakeland Drive.
And this April, LeFleur East applied to participate in the state’s Adopt-a-Highway program.
“We requested the section of I-55 between Lakeland Drive and Old Canton Road,” Jordan said. “I don’t know if we’ll get the whole section, because we’ll have to maintain the whole section.”
Jordan said even taking on a small portion of the highway would provide LeFleur East residents with another fun way to get involved. “If they can’t give monetarily, they give their time by participating in a neighborhood project or school project,” she said.
LeFleur East runs from north of Jackson Academy to south of Lakeland Drive. To the west it is bordered by the interstate, and to the east, it is bound by the Pearl River.
The foundation serves approximately 2,600 homes and 300 businesses. Neighborhoods include LOHO and Eastover, and shopping centers there include Highland Village, Maywood Mart and the District at Eastover.
Schools in the area include Jackson Academy, Casey Elementary, Spann Elementary and the Mississippi Schools for the Blind and Deaf.
The foundation has an executive director and a 12-member board of directors.
Board members are Clay Hays (chair), Dale Currie (treasurer), Jonathan Ford (secretary), Sally Birdsall (member at-large), Steve Baker, Michael Boerner, Denise Furr, Mike Malouf Jr., Warren Speed, David Hatchett, Masa Lyles and Kristy Simms.
The foundation’s office is at the Highland Village shopping center. The group moved there in March.
Jordan joined the foundation last summer, in time for her first Flash Dash, which was rained out.
“Rained out is an understatement,” she said, referring to the event as the “Flash Flood Dash.”
She’s hoping rain won’t put a damper on this year’s event, which will feature a pre-party with live music, face painting, jump houses and other activities.
“This is fun for everybody,” she said.
In the last year, foundation leaders have focused on increasing branding, as well as residents’ awareness of LeFleur East events and activities.
“The number one thing was branding. People weren’t really sure what we did,” she said.
Jordan and board members have attended numerous homeowners associations meetings, and hosted a spring party at Highland Village in April announcing new branding efforts.
Part of those efforts include working with real estate agents to ensure that homes being sold in the area are marketed as being part of LeFleur East.
Jordan says being part of the community certainly is a selling point.
“LeFleur East is a community that has it all,” she said. “We’ve got great restaurants, great schools, both public and private, and great places to live and work.”
For more information, log on to LeFleur East’s Web site at www.lefleureast.org.