This letter is in response to a Jackson Sun article published on April 29, 2008, letters to the editor about this artilce, and a meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals on April 28, 2009. I did not want to write it. In fact, I resisted writing it, within myself. But it keeps nagging at me, so just for some inner peace I’m sending a note. First of all, I hope that any who reads it understands that it comes from a place of caring and hope for the city of Jackson in general, and for Midtown Jackson in particular. Ever since I returned home to Jackson, I have continued to hold out hope that the past beauty and stateliness of the historic homes and buildings in Midtown can be restored and the entire community can grow into an area of diversity and commerce that will truly reflect all the citizens of this town. Recently, Oakslea Bed & Breakfast opened and started offering its location as a lovely site for weddings and other events. Unfortunately, I understand, some of those events were disruptive to some of my surrounding neighbors. As a result, it was decided at the meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals that the events could no longer be held. While at the meeting of the Zoning Appeals Board on April 28th, I spoke to two members of a Lambuth University fraternity, Anthony Johnson and Ben Roberts (both approved my mentioning their names) of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. They were both saddened by the No vote from the Board. “We loved having our events at Oakslea. It was an affordable place in the Lambuth neighborhood that really filled our needs,” was how one of them described their feelings. The Oakslea Bed & Breakfast is a beautiful property. The property, the events, and the clientele that leased its services were helping to build this establishment into an anchor for the further gentrification of the eastern half Midtown Jackson. It would have been a testament to community cohesiveness if there could have been a broader outreach from our city officials and the community to bring together the surrounding residents to find a way to prevent the disruptions that were caused by these events. We have all heard the old saying, “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”. Why couldn’t we have made a stronger, more concerted effort to fix the problems caused by the events, instead of ending the events all together? Now I notice the property is for sale. My fear here is that it will be bought by another landlord, broken into apartments and rented out to multiple tenants that will not collectively maintain its stateliness. So instead of a lovely spot that makes our community a destination for special occasions, we will have just another transitory apartment building that may or may not be well attended by an absent landlord. I did not intend to go on so long. But this situation is just another in a few occurrences in Midtown, since I have been here, that have disappointed me in my community. I just couldn’t let another one go by without some kind of public commentary.
Thanks for the opportunity of letting me say my piece. Now maybe I can have some peace. Yvonne Thompson Jackson
It was an easy choice for me to decide to buy my home in this area. I looked at homes in the newer subdivisions in North and Northeast Jackson. They had some pluses, but I love the character, superior workmanship, and history I see in Midtown Jackson. In addition, I like the diversity of people, varying levels of income, education, and ethnicity around me. Many of my neighbors are like me, and many are not. My life feels enriched when the people I encounter on a daily basis varies. It makes me feel as though my world is broader, and gives me a better understanding of the plight of others.