2 new bids offered to clean up Beulah

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 3, 2001

[04/03/01] The City of Vicksburg received two new bids to clean up Beulah Cemetery Monday, and members of the cemetery’s restoration committee said they are in a hurry to get started again.

The historic black graveyard, located at the east end of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, has become overrun with weeds and brush through the years, but a $50,000 grant through the Department of Archives and History for its restoration has gone unspent.

Restoration of the cemetery has had previous deadlines of June 30, 2000, Oct. 31, 2000, Dec. 31, 2000, and Feb. 28, and time is running out, said Yolande Robbins, head of the citizen committee.

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“A month has already passed on the calendar, and that’s a concern,” Robbins said. “It’s absolutely essential we get started on this as soon a possible.”

The fiscal year ends on June 30, and Robbins said there is a possibility the money, first awarded to the city in 1999, can be taken back if it is not spent before.

The two bids came from Hynum’s Lawn Service and Hill City Grass Services LLC, both of Vicksburg.

Hynum’s bid was $42,500. Hill City’s bid was $20,000. Taylor Brothers Construction Company also sent in a bid, but it was rejected because a bid bond, providing a guarantee, was not included.

A decision by the restoration committee will be made this afternoon, Robbins said, and referred to the city today for review. Robbins said she hopes contract negotiations can be done quickly so the chosen company can start immediately.

“They will have to work often and almost daily,” she said. “Hopefully the weather will cooperate.”

Robbins said it may be possible to ask for an extension of the June 30 deadline, but it would be better to meet the deadline.

City officials said they would call a special meeting if needed. “I would like to see us get to work on this as quickly as possible,” Mayor Robert Walker said.

Beulah was begun by a black fraternal organization and grew to many acres. Although Vicksburg’s public cemetery, Cedar Hill, has been open to all races for at least 150 years, many black leaders are buried at Beulah.

The job of cleaning the area of vegetation got no bids last summer, then Maynord Landscaping got a contract at Christmas. Little work was done before the contractor said he needed more time and money to meet the Feb. 28 deadline. Vicksburg officials declared him in default and sought the new bids opened Monday.