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Musgrove signs funding bill for study of Kings Point levee

[03/23/01] Gov. Ronnie Musgrove signed a bill Thursday that will provide $200,000 toward a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study of a proposed levee on Kings Point Island.

The money is in an $8.1 million bond increase to the Mississippi Business Investment Act, placed there by state Rep. George Flaggs Jr., D-Vicksburg, who said he thinks the project is worth exploring.

Those funds will by added with about $300,000 from Warren County to complete studies that began nearly two years ago.

Landowner Raymond May, a driving force in the years-long debacle over access to Kings Point, said today that supervisors should immediately move forward.

“Any delay could cause the project to be put off another year,” May said, “and there’s no need in that.”

Warren County Supervisors enlisted the Corps to study the feasibility of a levee to replace a ferry, now being operated under court order. The levee also could have the additional benefit of flood protection to the island and some other farm land in north Warren County.

District 2 Supervisor Michael Mayfield, whose district includes Kings Point, northwest of the Vicksburg Harbor, said he will ask the board to meet with the Corps to get the study going as soon as possible.

“I truly believe that if the study shows that the project will do what we think, it will do a lot of good,” Mayfield said.

Board president Richard George said he is not certain when the county will start the study because it will depend on when the state cuts the check.

“When we’ve got the money in hand, we will move,” George said.

The measure is effective July 1.

The project is estimated to cost $5.2 million to $8 million for a 10.7-mile levee that would connect with the existing Mississippi River levee and would run south along the river to near the mouth of the Yazoo River.

The county’s share would be 35 percent with the rest coming from federal funds. Federal funds would have to be authorized by Congress.

Another option the county has looked at is building a bridge to the island at the Mississippi River levee near Eagle Lake Road. Initial estimates are a cost of about $1 million.

Currently, the only access to the island when the river rises about 18 feet is the court-ordered ferry operation. The ferry operation costs county taxpayers about $250,000 annually.

Kings Point is bordered by the Mississippi River, the Yazoo River, Paw Paw Chute and Taylor Lake. Access to the island has been by ferry or by a low-water land route when available since the Yazoo Diversion Canal was dug in 1904. It is the permanent home of at least two families and used for cropland and is popular for hunting and fishing.