Marcus Bottom says yea and nay to road changes on Halls Ferry

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Jerry Uzzle, owner of Jerry’s Fish Market at 2701 Halls Ferry Road, talks Monday about landscaping being installed in Marcus Bottom.(Melanie Duncan Thortis The Vicksburg Post)

[1/27/04]One business owner says the city is creating a dangerous situation while other area residents are pleased with a median being built to install landscaping on Halls Ferry Road through Marcus Bottom.

Jerry Uzzle, owner of Jerry’s Fish Market, 2701 Halls Ferry, said a flood is coming.

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Uzzle, who has owned his bright-blue market since 1984, said severe rain is able to leave the area because of drains enlarged during an earlier city project. The median will block the water, he said.

“People will come down here, hit the water and lose control,” Uzzle said. “It will create more problems if they put that in there; they just don’t know it.”

City crews began the work a week ago, slicing through asphalt and concrete to create raised medians. Officials are calling it a beautification and speed control project.

Traffic lanes are currently 40-feet-wide. The medians will reduce each lane to 15 feet and eliminate street parking.

“It’s just going to make it more narrow for the cars to get through,” Uzzle said, skeptical cars and trucks will go slower.

Mayor Laurence Leyens said flooding would not be a problem because storm drains will be installed.

The work under way is between Marcus Street and Military Avenue. Uzzle, a block south, hopes the city will rethink, but Leyens said the first two medians will show business owners the idea will work.

“All we’re trying to do is make it nice,” he said. “People think it’s a bad neighborhood, and it’s not.”

Lucia Hawkins, who travels to the area practically every day, said she favors the median because it will improve the area’s appearance.

“As long as it looks like a dump, that’s what it will be,” Hawkins said. “It will look nice.”

Betty Tolliver, secretary of the Marcus Bottom Neighborhood Association, said her group also backs the idea.

“We approve of it,” she said. “It makes us feel good for the city to take an interest in us.”

Noting that medians will improve safety for children who live in the area, “It’s a step in the right direction. We want a nice neighborhood.”

About 11,000 cars travel between Bowmar Avenue and Lane Street each day.

Another business owner, Maye Davis of Maye’s Elegant Styles and Braids, 2510 1/2 Halls Ferry Road, said she is supportive.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Davis said. “It will make the street much better and give us something to look at.”

Plans also call for the median to be lighted.