John Conway is a young experienced with a wife, a son and also daughter. He stays in the house he prospered up in, a house that sits just over a mile native the banks of the Pearl River.

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“I to be a kid in 1979, and our house flooded, yet that was considered an extraordinary event,” that said. “These days, I consider the threat to be pretty low, i guess, despite there were some homes in my neighborhood that were flooded critical spring.” Conway, his wife and children gain living in a city with a river. They enjoy fishing and canoeing, and also Conway and also his kid kayak on the Pearl on weekends. “But the opportunity for flooding is very real,” Conway said. “Living wherein I do, the danger is constantly in the back of my mind.”

His and also thousands of others.

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Pearl flow swampland; photograph by Charlie Brenner

These doubters feel that the LeFleur Lakes project is simply not progressive enough and also does not resolve the changing demographics and also mindset of the 21st century South. In this context, the controversy surrounding LeFleur Lakes becomes a dispute of perception around the means Jackson should move, around the ideal venues that the city have the right to take in stimulate to become a an ext vibrant neighborhood rather than a battle between tree cutters and also tree huggers. Together an different to both LeFleur Lakes and the an extensive levee system (which unlike LeFleur Lakes had green space facilities), advocates of eco-friendly space, who encompass local businessmen and also conservationists, are proposing a greenway that will transform what is currently a denuded floodplain right into an area that will function hiking, biking and jogging trails, parks with sporting activities fields and playgrounds, a scenic river corridor because that boating as well as wilderness areas. Jackson geologist Dan Hill is among those who keep that the greenway proposal has the potential to increase city revenue by attracting young professionals and also entrepreneurs that look for such points as aesthetics and outdoor recreational tasks when seeking come relocate. “The Levee Board has actually denuded the area between the levees to enhance the convenience of the overwhelming waters the end of the overwhelming zone,” Hill said. “The Levee board maintains the levees and also the floodways such as the areas at Lakeland and also I-20. They clear the floodways rather than do any type of aesthetic features and also it’s ugly.”

“When you clean the trees away from the river, there space no root to host the banks,” Hill said. “The reason they clear the tree is that those trees and also vegetation develop a traction on the water going through, so what they do is straighten up and also dredge the channel together it has been follow me I-55. That boosts the i of water. One of the things that the Mississippi room of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks didn’t favor was the clearings in the 1996 plan, i beg your pardon would have actually increased the variety of clearings. That ugly; that looks choose a moonscape going throughout I-20. And also this creates a an unfavorable impression around Jackson.”

The greenway proposal is problematic due to the fact that it can’t manage flooding follow me the river and also has minimal appeal for those who are unaccustomed to more nature-oriented forms of activity (biking, hiking, kayaking, etc.) and are more acclimated come the hustle and also bustle of a more people-oriented environment; shopping malls, for instance. But the environmental issues are quiet crucial. Water high quality is a major concern. Follow to Jackson businessman Jerry Litton, “If friend look at the area that will be draining right into LeFleur Lakes and also look at the trash and also debris the flushes native the city every time we have a rain, that is what the water in those lakes is going to look like.”

“Debris will certainly collect on the edge of the lake, or collect on drifts that space out in the open up or on the edge of the (proposed) island,” Litton said. “It’s walking to be there, and also somebody’s going to have to float about in a boat in a net and dredge it out, all of the stuff the comes under from the spillway itself, add to what flushes the end of the creeks in the city.” Nonpoint pollution is also a consideration. Nonpoint contamination is resource pollution, or “polluted runoff,” created when rain, irrigation and other water resources run over the land, choose up pollutants and transporting lock to local water bodies. You’re walk to host water there in a huge volume, and also you’re walking to have all the nonpoint pollutants that come indigenous the city. Nonpoint sources are parking lots and also roadways and also fields. Climate what around all the motor oil, paint and also paint thinners that civilization won’t take the time to require to the toxic waste centers? It’s gift poured down storm drains.”

Hill agrees. “The shallowness of the proposed reservoirs (LeFleur Lakes) is such that water temperature is going to warmth up and also that’s walk to impact water quality. Not just that, however when lock impound the lake they’re walk to flood one landfill that I know of, and there’s probably a 2nd landfill. I uncovered out as soon as they tore under the old Baptist hospital, they put the asbestos from that in a fill that would certainly be flooded.” drain mains are an additional concern for the LeFleur Lakes project. Damaged sewer mains would flow directly into the lake from the city. One such drain is the West main Intercept, i beg your pardon drains north Jackson and also travels with the floodway. The building and construction of a lake in the floodplain the opposite Jackson would placed that sewer key underneath the lake itself. Environmental issues aside, when it involves local sentiment, the LeFleur Lakes proposal appeals to a genuine need for the human being of Jackson to feel as if they room living in a vibrant, growing ar that is making changes and improvements. In enhancement to the attractions of proposed flood control and also potential financial benefits, LeFleur Lakes has come to represent an alternate to apparently ineffective downtown development. Granted, LeFleur Lakes appeals more to the outlying subway area than it does to the city itself; top top the surface, the project has actually much better appeal for those part of Ridgeland, Hinds and Rankin Counties in between the spillway and also Byram, however it still has its supporters in the city itself, not the least of which is former Jackson mayor Harvey Johnson Jr.

“The proceeding flooding we experience nearly every year undeniably demonstrates the we really much need a an extensive flood protection plan,” Johnson said. “As a member of the Rankin-Hinds Levee Board, ns work closely with mayors from Rankin County and other plank members to attend to ongoing flood regulate measures.”

“The public has rallied about the LeFleur Lakes task as an alternate to levees. The City of Jackson has gone on document as gift in support of the LeFleur Lakes project, and also we continue to work very closely with federal, state and also other local authorities to come up with the right answer to deal with our difficulties with floods. Us will continue to advice the LeFleur Lakes proposal as it evolves while us decide the finest ways to administer flood control,” Johnson added.

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But according to Matthew Dalbey, assistant professor in the department of metropolitan and local Planning in ~ Jackson State University, “From a physical planning point or perspective, as soon as you have actually an interstate between a brand-new development project and downtown, ns don’t see exactly how that is going to assist downtown. Together a issue of fact, ns think the going to do downtown dead. It’s simply too huge of a separation; it’s simply like any kind of other type of leap-frog advancement or urban sprawl. The people who argue for this will certainly say that any new development within the boundaries of the city will provide a positive economic impact, however the issue remains that the brand-new development will certainly be different from the old development. It will certainly kill downtown because of the separation. I think that there’s a tendency to support brand-new development by neighborhood people, for this reason for instance you can get a premium price for something brand-new whether the strategically situated or not. In other words, yes nothing brand-new downtown, so civilization aren’t investing downtown, but take the Fondren corner building; it’s a redone structure in an area that had actually formerly remained in decline,” Dalbey said. “But the brand-new investment in that place has actually been such the they can get a premium ~ above the rental fees there. Together a issue of fact, Fondren is in a rebound, and people favor being there.”

Of course, it’s questionable whether LeFleur Lakes, or any such brand-new development ar will boost the local economy. Some world are that the opinion that the city has prolonged itself currently and that further advance is superfluous; ~ all, the state economy is drawing back, consolidating itself and trimming edges, so it makes sense the the resources city need to follow suit. Under scrutiny, LeFleur Lakes shows up to be an antiquated advancement concept that creates more problems both in Jackson and downstream 보다 it solves. Jackson deserves a solution to flooding that is effective and also progressive, one that focuses on enduring worries rather 보다 quick-fix alternatives. Us need safeguard ourselves, but we need to take treatment of our river, too; after all, she’s why we’re right here in the very first place.