• 54°

City to build 21 houses for poor in Kings

[01/25/01] Vicksburg officials Thursday signed an agreement with a company to build 21 houses in Kings for low-income families.

Nearly $400,000 will be made available to families for the purchase of the homes and the city expects to be paid back. Construction is expected to start in the spring.

“This is a project that we’ve been working on for many years,” said North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young. “It’s great to finally see it come to fruition.”

The funds include a $320,000 grant from the Mississippi Home Corporation, a quasi-public corporation that targets first-time buyers and has programs for people in low- to moderate-income households. The funds will be used to provide qualified applicants with up to $13,000 in down-payment assistance, mortgage assistance and money for closing costs, Young said.

The two- and three-bedroom homes will be built by a company named Vicksburg and Quality Development Inc., and will cost $40,000 to $50,000. If no qualified applicants can be found for the program through the city, the developer can sell the homes and the city can use the funds in another area.

Under the plan, qualified homebuyers will get assistance to get into the homes and become responsible for the mortgages, which are expected to average $400 monthly.

“One of the big challenges in our community has been the affordability of housing,” said Mayor Robert Walker. “They could be built, but they would be in the $80,000-to-$90,000 range, and that would exclude most of our community.”

Per capita income for Warren County is about $21,733, among the highest in the state.

The homes will be built near North Washington and Roberts streets, an area annexed by the city in 1990.

“Our priority was for the people in the Kings community who have flooded and continue to flood every year,” said Young.

The program has no relation to operations of the Vicksburg Housing Authority, the largest provider of public housing in Vicksburg and owner of Waltersville Estates, an apartment complex also in North Vicksburg.

In other matters, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen:

Accepted bids for playground equipment to be installed at Pearl and Farmer streets, Wisteria and MacArthur drives.

Authorized the city clerk to re-advertise for bids for a mural project at City Front and extended the project’s completion date to Aug. 30. No bids had been received for the project, and the city plans to advertise across the state.

Entered into contracts with Neel-Schaffer Inc., for design on the Pearl Street Reconstruction Project and the Washington Street sewer project.

Accepted a $71,800 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to hire two booking clerks and two dispatchers for the Vicksburg Police Department. The city has to provide matching funds of $23,937 and the grant has to be applied for annually.

Declared Monday Organ Awareness Day.

Authorized the city clerk to advertise for bids for the indoor firing range to be constructed in the Ellis Building for the Vicksburg Police Department.

Authorized the city clerk to advertise for bids for the installation of a four-inch gas line to connect to the River Region hospital being constructed on U.S. 61 North.

Declared surplus city property that will be sold at auction 8 a.m., Feb. 3, at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

The board will meet again at 10 a.m. on Feb. 5 at City Hall.