Business owner balks at Juneteenth shutdown

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 17, 2001

[04/17/01] A business owner in Marcus Bottom Monday asked city officials to reconsider plans to close that section of Halls Ferry Road again this year for the Juneteenth Festival, but got no answer.

Lynn Dickerson of Dickerson Tire Company proposed narrowing the portion of the roadway sealed off for the June 16 event to between Marcus and Lane streets. Last week, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to close the road between Bowmar and Lane streets for the one-day celebration.

“Saturday is an important day for us,” Dickerson told the board. “What I have is a compromise that would permit the festival and allow us to remain open that day.”

Last year, Dickerson and other business owners along the portion of Halls Ferry that was shut down for the celebration complained that customers could not get to them. Mayor Robert Walker said that police and fire officials would ensure access was granted to area shops this year.

“We’ll make sure that it is not a hindrance to business,” Walker said.

Dickerson, whose business at 2607 Halls Ferry Road is between Bowmar and Marcus streets, was not told what would happen to the request, but no action was taken by the board.

The holiday dates to the Civil War and has been celebrated intermittently and on various dates. According to some versions, it relates to when slaves in Galveston, Texas, learned of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865. Last year was the first year an outdoor festival was held to mark the holiday in Vicksburg.

About 14,000 vehicles travel through Marcus Bottom each day, making it one of the busiest city streets in Vicksburg. Other street closings granted during the year are downtown for Riverfest and in the courthouse area for fall and spring street sales.

In other matters, the board:

Awarded bids for gas plant supplies.

Executed an agreement with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for Vicksburg’s 2001 certified local government grant. The $2,800 grant will be used to publish brochures to be mailed out to property owners in the historic district concerning historic guidelines.

Executed a consulting service agreement with Jimmy Gouras Urban Planning Consultant for the Community Development Block Grant 2001 economic development project.

Approved the purchase of a vehicle for the Vicksburg animal control department for $14,965.

Appointed David Clement to the zoning board to replace Brenda Hawkins.

Approved hiring personnel in the recreation department and promoting personnel in the fire department during executive session.

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen will meet again at 10 a.m., Monday at City Hall.