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Historic Jackson Park — Neighborhood Nuisance?

New neighbor says historic "Under the Oaks" has become a magnet for nuisances
Posted at 8:33 PM, Jul 05, 2024
  • Dane Theisen moved to Jackson for the affordability and expected quality of life.
  • Theisen chose a home next to "Under the Oaks", not expecting that the city park would, as he tells it, prove a nuisance magnet.
  • Smoking, drugs, vandalism, littering...Theisen says he has documented all of these issues...and even working with police and the City has not resolved them.
  • Video shows "Under the Oaks" neighborhood, alleged drug use in the Park, Theisen pointing out problems and where they occur.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

I’m your Fox 47 neighborhood reporter Darius Udrys in Jackson here at "Under the Oaks", where I spoke to one neighbor about issues near his home, and what can be done about them.

“It’s a beautiful area and it deserves to be cherished and loved,” says Dane Theisen.

When Theisen decided to make a move, this affordable Jackson neighborhood seemed like a great place for a fresh start.

“I saw a lot of potential here just because of all the old historic buildings,” he says wistfully.

He picked out a rental home in this leafy city neighborhood — right next to historic Under the Oaks — birthplace of the Republican Party.

Theisen had no idea what a nuisance this piece of Jackson history could be.

“People smoking out here constantly…” notes Theisen, walking us through the tiny "Under the Oaks" Memorial Park.

Smoke, he says, that wafts straight into his home through the windows.

Smoking in City Parks is prohibited. But Theisen says this prohibition goes unheeded — and not just by tobacco smokers.

“There’s been smoking of drugs here — anything from heroin, crack, marijuana, cigarettes…anything — you name it, they’ll smoke it — twelve feet in front of my house,” he laments. “I looked out my window and someone was smoking crack right here.”

Police, says Theisen, will respond and ask offenders to stop and leave. The ordinance says if they comply, there are no further consequences.

Theisen says the problem is bigger than just the smoking.

It’s an overall sense he perceives among some in the neighborhood that ordinances — from accosting and vandalism to trespassing, property damage, littering, carelessness with fire, and nuisance barking — can be disregarded with impunity.

“The police are wonderful, but they lack the city ordinance tools to go ahead and arrest people. The threshold for actually arresting people here is very high.”

And this, says Theisen, creates a sense of lawlessness in the neighborhood he worries will get worse before it gets better.

“I often times don’t feel safe here — not even in my own home.”

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