City expected to accept deed to Crawford Street post office

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 24, 2003

(11/24/03)Mayor Laurence Leyens said he thinks Vicksburg officials will decide this week to accept the deed to the nearly vacant downtown post office building.

The option would be to let the federal government auction the property.

Deadline day is Thursday, but officials will likely announce their vote earlier because of Thanksgiving.

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City officials have said they have no plans for the building immediately east of City Hall on Crawford Street, and their only concern is the cost of maintaining it. Some estimates are that upkeep would cost about $600,000 a year, leading officials to consider leasing out part of the building.

Leyens said he will meet with representatives from Alcorn State University to see if they want space in the five-story stone building.

The General Services Administration, the federal government’s property manager, offered to give the building to Vicksburg since the federal court moved to Natchez. “It looks like the city is going to take it,” Leyens said.

The 67-year-old structure at 820 Crawford St., still houses the downtown post office, which includes boxes for rent and limited window service. Some U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ employees are still in the structure although most moved out many years ago.

If the city takes the building, officials say they would like to see the post office stay.

Alcorn has increased course offerings in Vicksburg and teaches classes at Hinds Community College. The 3,000-student university headquartered in Lorman has an office on Cherry Street.

Leyens said the city will be willing to lease only part of the building to Alcorn if that is all the university needs. Other possibilities for the post office and federal building that have been discussed include moving some city departments into that property.

Leyens said his biggest concern is that the building does not remain vacant.