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Jackson Rails with Trails & Alley Study

      R. Dean Randalls, Architect



The above images are from several tornados that ripped through Jackson Tennessee.  In fact, just as the  memorial to the first tornado was being completed, downtown Jackson was hit again.  And later, even another one ripped through the suburbs and a local college campus.

As an economic development effort to redevelop the downtown following several direct hits by tornados, I was asked by the local power company and TVA to work with the community to envision recovery.  And unlike many of the urban design charrettes that I have administered in numerous towns,  the design sessions in Jackson were limited in focus to the common links that could tie the downtown back together, leaving the very real architectural recovery efforts up to the many design teams that had assembled following the latest disaster.  So while buildings throughout the downtown were either being demolished, or rebuilt,  my task was to address a long-standing vision for converting numerous abandoned rail lines that weaved through downtown into linear parks and greenways. 


The project addressed both Rails-to-Trails, and the lesser known Rails-with-Trails.   While most of the old lines were abandoned, one was still in very limited use.  So consideration was given to a Rail-with-Trail reuse, creating a linear park along one side, only feasible since the rail was rarely used, and when it was in use, the train would travel escorted and at very low speeds. 

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