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Lowerdeck

Jackson topic

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Somewhere in the middle of my search for a job, I ran across one fairly interesting ... but far far away from my native New England. I've never been to Tennessee, and don't really know what anything is like down there. I'm just used to the Boston-New York corridor and everything that happens here.

With that said, I'm curious as to what Jackson is like. All I know is, from very minor and preliminary searches on the net ... there's 60k people and a Best Buy, and it's near a major interstate... which I like. Meanwhile, is the city affordable? Is the place relatively safe, or a crime hole? Are there things to do around there?

I'm trying to think of Danbury, Conn.: a city of 75k, half dozen grocery stores, Target, Wal-Mart, Circuit City and Best Buy, 16 screen theatre, giant mall, train and interstate connections, bunch of bars and some signs of nightlife (no hip-hop clubs, never doing that crap again).

Any other comments would be good too, make me wonder if this job is worth applying for.

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Somewhere in the middle of my search for a job, I ran across one fairly interesting ... but far far away from my native New England. I've never been to Tennessee, and don't really know what anything is like down there. I'm just used to the Boston-New York corridor and everything that happens here.

With that said, I'm curious as to what Jackson is like. All I know is, from very minor and preliminary searches on the net ... there's 60k people and a Best Buy, and it's near a major interstate... which I like. Meanwhile, is the city affordable? Is the place relatively safe, or a crime hole? Are there things to do around there?

I'm trying to think of Danbury, Conn.: a city of 75k, half dozen grocery stores, Target, Wal-Mart, Circuit City and Best Buy, 16 screen theatre, giant mall, train and interstate connections, bunch of bars and some signs of nightlife (no hip-hop clubs, never doing that crap again).

Any other comments would be good too, make me wonder if this job is worth applying for.

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Jackson is a decent place to live. The crime rate, however, is higher than the national average per 100K people and about twice as high as Danbury's; however Jackson's crime is more concentrated in certain areas, so you probably wouldn't notice. Jackson is becoming more spread out as it grows with parts of it are trying to extend toward Milan and Humboldt up both Highway 45s. The cost of living in Jackson is far less expensive than in the Northeast and you'd be able to buy a much larger property than you might expect.

It only has airline service to St. Louis, but Memphis and Nashville are relatively short hops on I-40. If you like outdoor activities, Chickasaw Park, Natchez Trace Park, Reelfoot Lake, Paris Landing/Land Between the Lakes, and Pickwick/Shiloh are all easily accessible from Jackson as it's kind of a secondary highway hub of West Tennessee.

While not the most exciting place, Jackson at least merits a trip to check it out and you should be pleased with what you see.

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Jackson is a decent, cheap place to raise a family. If you like to go out, there isn't anywhere to go. If you like good restaurants, there aren't any. The social scene is pretty much limited to golf and backyard barbeques. There are plenty of chain stores, however. And it isn't a bad drive to Memphis or Nashville.

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Jackson is basically my backyard, so I can answer any question about the city you might have. :)

As an overview on the City of Jackson:

Jackson is the regional commercial and economic hub of rural West Tennessee. It has regional pull in regards to employment, social/medical services, and commercial needs for the entire Grand Division (everything west of the Tennessee River) except for Lauderdale and Tipton counties which are completely drawn to Memphis and the northern extremes of Obion and Weakley counties which split between being drawn to Jackson and Paducah, KY.

Jackson is a VERY pro-business city, with a outstanding track record of attracting a varied base of industrial manufacturers and commercial ventures. It offers a wide variety of commercial retail and dining options for its size, with most major retailers and dining chains being established already in the city, with more announcing their intentions to enter the market every month it seems. The main retail and dining areas are located along and off of the US 45 by-pass and Vann Drive (sold to potential retailers by many as "Jackson's Main Street"), both of which branch off the main I-40 exit for the city. The current mall, enclosed, is located off of US 45/ Highland Avenue, and is standard mall with a Macys, JC Penny's, etc. There is also a new open air mall/retail area planned the city, which will host hundreds of new retailers and dining outlets - opening up a new area of the city to retail growth.

Entertainment in the city is what one might expect for a smaller city, several moderately sized venues, several multi-plex theatres (the newest, largest, and most modern being on Vann Drive), etc. The city's primary venues are The Ned R. McWherter West Tennessee Cultural Arts Center - which is a venue for performing acts performances and visual art exhibits; the Carl Perkins Civic Center - which is home to the Jackson Symphony; and the Jackson Civic Center - which hosts sports and musical acts. The city also is home to the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, the AA baseball affiliate of the Seattle Mariners - whom have a terrific modern facility and offers cheap entertainment throughout the summer.

Within close proximity as already mentioned are a host of state parks, the most prominent of which would be Pinson Mounds, Natchez Trace, Land between the Lakes (LBL), Reelfoot Lake, and Pickwick Dam. Actually there are several more battlefields and small parks in the area, Shiloh and Parker's Crossroads being examples of the battlefields nearby.

Housing is very affordable in Jackson compared to the major cities in the state, and esp. compared to similar sized cities in the Northeast. One if so inclined could actually live outside of Jackson/Madison County, and get even more return on investment in housing by living in an adjoining county. Many folks do so for lower taxes, public schools that are perceived to be better than those found in Jackson, lower crime rates, and cheaper housing costs. The southern section of Gibson County is the primary area where this is occurring, specifically in the city of Medina, where an abundance of new mid-to-high end homes are being built. Henderson (Chester County) and Milan (Gibson County) also seem popular from what I can tell.

In Jackson itself most newer and mid-to-high end housing is found north of downtown off major roads such as Oil Wells and Old Humboldt between US-45 Bypass and US-45 proper in the newer neighborhoods. Near downtown a host of cheaper homes can be found in the older neighborhoods of the city. The other sections of the city vary.

The public school system is the Jackson/Madison County school system, and is consolidated system of the former county and city systems. As a result of consolidation, high profile private schools do exist in Jackson, and are very popular among those who are willing to pay to send their children them. Jackson's public schools have a reputation, like most urban schools, of being rough, however in regards to the quality of education offered, I doubt it is any worse than those systems in neighboring counties - and in some regards might be better in terms of what programs and opportunities they could offer.

There are a multitude of institutions of higher learning in the city: Union University is a 4-yr liberal arts university (Southern Baptist affiliated), Lambuth University is also a 4-yr liberal arts institution (United Methodist affiliated); Lane College is one of the nation's oldest African-American colleges; Jackson State Community College is a two-year Associate Degree granting institution, which also offers certification programs, while the city also boasts a satellite campus of the University of Tennessee at Martin, which offers 4-year and Master's degree programs.

The city does have some-what of a crime problem for its size. Most crime is localized, but random crime throughout the city is an issue and cannot be overlooked. The city's above average crime rate and the perception upon the city which that crime creates are perhaps the most damaging aspects of the city's attributes to those looking at Jackson. However, despite its higher crime stats and the negative associated perceptions, the city continues to grow at a rapid pace, so that should be some indication that overall the city is relatively viewed by most as safe as any other city.

What the local paper reports and the crime stats state cannot be looked at alone, but must be put into context. Where you live, what you do, where you go, etc. all play factors in how safe any city is. In the case of Jackson, most of the city is going to be pefectly safe almost all of the time, unless you go to an area you shouldn't be and known for crime.

So that's a pretty basic overview off the top of my head. Hopefully I covered most of the basics.

Jackson is a very nice and growing cities, with its pluses and minuses, like all cities. Most folks are extremely friendly and the opportunities to be found in the city should only grow in the future. I would recommend anyone interested in a smaller growing city, with a cheap cost of living, a good economic outlook, and a good environment to live and/or to raise a family, to look at Jackson and its surrounding area. It has a lot to offer now, and will only have more to offer in the future.

Feel free to ask any more questions you might have on the city. I'm all about discussing Tennessee and its cities, esp. its lesser known ones. :)

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It only has airline service to St. Louis, but Memphis and Nashville are relatively short hops on I-40.

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RK- What's this about this new open air mall? I read something about it but have heard nothing about it since.

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Lowerdeck- Be forewarned about the tornado threat. We of course had the two F4's in 1999 (Bemis and S. Jackson) and 2003 (Downtown and E. Jackson). However we also had other tornadoes in 2002 and 2006.

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