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Jackson, TN: Where Fun and Affordability Go Hand in Hand

This West Tennessee city offers outstanding quality of life without frying your finances.

By Cary Estes on June 28, 2021

Jackson, TN
Nathan Lambrecht

When it comes to being an enjoyable and affordable place to live, Jackson, TN has things covered inside and out.>

Finding a comfortable home is made easier by the value of the local housing market, with a median price of less than $132,000. Then when it comes time to venture outdoors, the region offers a variety of entertainment and recreational opportunities, many of which are low cost or free.>

Dr. George Pimentel quickly discovered all these advantages when he moved to Jackson from the Nashville area in 2020 to take over as president of Jackson State Community College. He said he was particularly pleased with the housing affordability.

A four-bedroom, three-bath house in Jackson can be found for approximately $250,000, while a 4,000-square-foot home in a quiet neighborhood can be acquired for approximately $500,000.

“You can get a lot of house for your money here,” Pimentel says. “You can find really good homes for less than $250,000. It would be three times that much in other cities. Your money definitely goes a lot further here. And there are a lot of free activities, especially if you’re interested in the outdoors.

“It’s a larger community that has a small-town feel, but has access to everything you need. There’s just a lot to do here, and much of it is free or the cost isn’t that great.”

Jackson, TN
Nathan Lambrecht

Affordable Fun Awaits in Jackson, TN

A night (or day) on the town in Jackson can be extremely friendly on the wallet. There are numerous restaurants and shopping venues, but with prices that won’t tax your wallet.

Other affordable options include the West Tennessee Farmers Market (which is open Tuesday through Saturday), concerts and shows at Jackson’s AMP at the Market, and the new 10-acre Dr. Vicki Schneider Lake Dog Park. There are also fun festivals such as the Jackson International Food and Art Festival.

And then there is all the outdoor recreation. Hiking and cycling trails can be found throughout the area, along with plenty of places to enjoy water recreation, such as kayaking and fishing.

One of the newest opportunities for outdoor recreation is Middle Fork Bottoms, an 800-acre natural area just north of the city. The first phase, which is expected to be completed in summer 2021, includes 5 miles of paved walking trails and a 10-acre fishing lake. Overlooks, boardwalks and restrooms will be added during the second phase.

“There are a lot of habitat areas there, so there will be plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing,” says David Blackwood, executive director of the West Tennessee River Basin Authority. “It’s roughly the same size as Central Park in New York, so it’s big enough and varied enough that there’s something to do for anybody who wants to be outside. There will be a total of nearly 50 acres of water where you can fish or kayak.”

Another new outdoor recreation option is the Rockabilly Ridge bike trail. Local firefighter Matt Joiner worked with the Madison County Conservation Board of Directors in 2020 to carve out the twisty, 4-mile track through the woods at Pugh Bourne Park, with the goal of bringing mountain biking events to Jackson.

“It’s a technical trail, but not super tough, so anybody can ride, run or walk it,” Joiner says. “It’s just a fun trail through the woods.”

There also are trails at Union University. Joiner says that once Middle Fork Bottoms is completed, there will be an opportunity to create a trail system that extends to all corners of Jackson. “Hopefully, we can find a way to connect those together,” Joiner says.

“You’ll be able to pretty quickly get from the center of Jackson to someplace where you can enjoy outdoor recreation in any direction.”

Ready to explore more about what Jackson has to offer? Check out the latest edition of Livability Jackson, Tennessee.

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