Beulah cleanup on hold again

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 6, 2001

Vines and brush cover a tombstone at Beulah Cemetery Monday. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[03/06/01] Beulah Cemetery’s restoration is on hold again as contract negotiations fell through and new bids will be needed.

The historic black fraternal cemetery in Vicksburg was granted $50,000 through the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for a cleanup, including removal of weeds, brush and small trees.

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Three deadlines for the project have passed, most recently Wednesday, but Maynord Landscaping, which won a $20,000 bid for the project, said it was unable to finish without extra time and $15,000 more.

The board found Maynord in breach of contract and will begin readvertising for bids, postponing the project again.

Maynord will forfeit a $1,000 cash bond and receive no pay. After no bids were received last summer, Maynord was the low bidder in December and was to have the 15.8 acres cleared by March 1. Little work is apparent at the cemetery that abuts the Vicksburg National Military Park at the east end of Martin Luther King Boulevard.

“We are under the gun as far as time is concerned,” said Yolande Robbins, head of the restoration committee. “We’re hoping to have someone out there by the first of April.”

June 30 ends the fiscal year, and Robbins said although the committee doesn’t want a rush job done on the cemetery, members also don’t want the money from the state grant to be reappropriated. The allocation, spearheaded by state Rep. George Flaggs, was made in the 1999 session, but the first round of bids was not sought for 15 months.

“It was a disappointment to the committee,” Robbins said of Maynord’s default. “There was a real sadness to realize not a lot of work had been done. We knew there were problems with bad weather, so the request for more time didn’t surprise us, but the request for more money did.”

The city will begin advertising this week and taking bids 15 days after advertisements go out, said Walterine Langford, staff attorney for the city. The process to find a new contractor could be completed in the next 30 days and the city, the department of Archives and History and the restoration committee could also sue Maynord Landscaping for default.

“The committee, the city and the Department of Archives could seek the difference in what his (Maynord’s) bid was and what another contractor will charge,” Langford said. “I’m not saying they will, but they have that option.”