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City OKs permit for auxiliary water line

Published 11:08 am Monday, July 14, 2014

A permit that will allow a new water line to be partially built through the Vicksburg National Military Park was authorized Thursday at the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting. The 30-inch auxiliary line will provide a backup for the city’s 10,000 estimated customers in case a problem arose with the 36-inch main water line that runs across Washington Street. The project is estimated at $3.2 million, with $2.45 million of it coming from a grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Gaining approval from the National Park Services to install the line through the park was a monumental step in green lighting the project.

“Everybody’s been very cooperative, because you cannot rely upon one main source of supply line going through the city, so that’s what that’s for,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “They had a breakage when (former mayor Paul Winfield) was here. They had a breakage one time that almost shut down the city.”

The auxiliary line will start at the water treatment plant on Haning Road and proceed north toward North Washington Street to a point south of the Vicksburg National Cemetery, where it will cross park property and head down the center of Fort Hill Drive to Cherry Street — eventually connecting with an existing line on Jackson Street.

Construction of the water line through Fort Hill Drive will force residents to take detours into and out of the area, but access to the park for transportation during the day will be allowed.

The board recognized the inconvenience that construction will cause Fort Hill Drive inhabitants but made it a point to resolve the issue through transparency and communication.

“We want to have a couple of meetings for the purpose of those persons who are affected in that area. We’re going to have one meeting for everyone involved, and then we’ll probably have a meeting with some of the residents that have been affected,” Flaggs

said. “We’ll probably have the hearing to discuss what we’re going to do so everyone will know exactly how it will affect them. We believe in transparency.”

Mayor Flaggs and his aldermen said they would meet with citizens before talking with engineers about the project to prove their dedication to constituents.

“We’re going to conduct (a meeting) before meeting with engineers,” Flaggs said. “They vote for us, and I promised them we were going to talk because we think it’s important the resident knows first before we go a step further on anything.”