City to accept old post office

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 26, 2003

[11/26/03]The City of Vicksburg will own the Crawford Street Post Office building as soon as the paperwork with the federal government is finished.

The Mayor and Aldermen voted Tuesday to issue a letter of intent to accept the five-story stone building adjacent to City Hall. Officials say they hope to keep the post office as the anchor tenant on the first floor of the former courthouse.

“That’s a landmark building in our community, and we’re hoping to preserve that,” said South Ward Alderman Sid Beauman.

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Officials have not announced any use for the structure, but have said they will consider leasing part of the building to Alcorn State University for classrooms. Other possibilities include moving in city departments and continuing leases with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for some of the space.

Today, leases with the federal government generate about $417,000 annually in revenue. City strategic planner Paul Rogers said he estimates the cost to maintain the building will be $317,000, although other estimates have been as high as $600,000 per year.

Rogers said there is 70,000 square feet of rentable space in the 95,000-square-foot building, including the spaces already leased. The value of the building was also estimated for insurance purposes at $11 million, about $115 per square foot.

Some work is needed, including repairs to the roof. Rogers said the lease revenues over the next three years will cover the repair costs.

The city will get the 67-year-old building at no cost.

“Our goal is to keep that building open,” said Mayor Laurence Leyens.

The deadline to accept the property is Thursday, but city officials had to make the decision early because of the holiday. The General Services Administration, the federal government’s property manager, offered to give the building to Vicksburg since the federal court moved to Natchez.

In other matters, the city board:

Approved board meeting minutes from Oct. 24.

Presented a proclamation for Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

Received sealed bids for steel pipe and fittings and awarded bids for recreational furniture.

Approved road and address changes for the City parks and recreation building, from 102 Army-Navy Drive to 3501 Patricia St.; the former National Guard Armory, from 100 Army-Navy Drive to 1080 Army-Navy Drive; corrected the spelling of a road off U.S. 61 North to Thalweg Drive, and renamed Kitty Bingham Drive, a private road off U.S. 61 North, to Sunshine Lane at the residents’ request.

Denied a request to close the Martin Luther King Boulevard bridge over Mission 66 from noon until 5 Saturday for the filming of a music video.

Denied a request from Warren Guider to mark the city limits through a development off U.S. 61 North. City officials said the line is described in the city code of ordinances and that Guider would have to pay a surveyor to mark the line on his private property.

Reissued general obligation bonds to refinance a 1994 loan for water system improvements. The new bonds will be at a lower interest rate saving the city about $113,000.

Entered an agreement with Ameristar Casino Hotel to change traffic signals on Washington Street. Ameristar will reimburse the city for the costs.

Approved the purchase of rulers, pencils and erasers for a fire-prevention program.

Approved an application for the free use of the Kings Community Center by the Kings Head Start program.

Authorized lease agreements for three postage machines.

Approved the claims docket.

The city board will meet again at 10 a.m. Monday at City Hall Annex.