Blazing connections to a wealth of knowledge and history
Neel-Schaffer provided engineering design, survey, geotechnical investigation and construction engineering and inspection services for the Jackson Museum Trail, a 10-foot wide, 2.5-mile multi-use path that stretches from downtown Jackson to Lakeland Drive, connecting the Farmers Market and Two Mississippi Museums in downtown Jackson to the three parks and three museums that comprise the LeFleur Museum District on Museum Boulevard.
Construction on the $1.75 million project began in July 2020 and was completed in December 2020.
The project was built partially on an abandoned rail line. The paved trail stretches from the Two Mississippi Museums in downtown Jackson, to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Mississippi Agricultural Museum on Lakeland Drive. Where the newly paved section ends at Laurel Street, the Trail continues as a “signed bike route” along Myrtle Street, before turning right on Riverside Drive, and then left on Museum Drive.
The trail travels partly through the historic Belhaven neighborhood, and it connects to LeFleur’s Bluff State Park and the Natural Science Museum and the Mississippi Children’s Museum before reaching the Sports Hall of Fame.
The project was funded 80 percent through a Transportation Enhancement grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation, with the City of Jackson and privation donations funding 20 percent.
This project was delayed for several years, but Neel-Schaffer was involved from the beginning. One of the firm’s mantra’s is to serve the communities in which we work and live, and this project is a perfect example of that.
At a groundbreaking ceremony that was held on July 14, 2020, at the site of what will be the Farmers Market Trailhead, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said: “Projects like this will allow our quality of life to expand.”
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony held on January 13, 2021, City Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay, whose Ward includes the trail, said: “This is the most fantastic thing I’ve ever seen.”
According to the website “Jxn Trailblazers,” the Museum Trail is “a success story of community collaboration,” and it is “the first multi-use path in the Capital City that was asked for and advocated for by citizens, supported by local businesses and created with the City of Jackson leading the way. Walkers, runners, bicycle riders, roller bladers, nature lovers and explorers of all ages, in all parts of the City: The Museum Trail is for you!”