New owner cleaning up El Morocco Club

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 5, 2004

Robert Hubbard, community service outreach coordinator with the City of Vicksburg, stands Friday in front of the El Morocco Club in Marcus Bottom after he purchased the building.(Melanie Duncan Thortis The Vicksburg Post)

[4/3/04]The new owner of the El Morocco Club in Marcus Bottom says he hopes to improve the area by renovating the former bar into something new.

Robert Hubbard, community service outreach coordinator with the City of Vicksburg, bought the Halls Ferry Road building about three months ago and has been working to clean it up and fix it in his spare time. He said there are no specific plans for the property yet, but he’d like for it to be an asset to the neighborhood.

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“I bought it as an investment and to improve the atmosphere of the area,” Hubbard said.

The El Morocco is centrally located in the Marcus Bottom neighborhood.

Marcus Bottom extends east and west of Halls Ferry. Once associated with high crime rates, the area has attracted new businesses, and many homes have been rebuilt or remodeled, and intensive city and community efforts have improved streets and drainage.

Although it has not operated as a precinct since 2001, Douglas Park Precinct is next door to the El Morocco. Vicksburg police officers work out of the precinct and this year, the city began efforts to beautify the area planting flower beds and constructing a median.

The median, being built in three sections between Cherry Street and Bowmar Avenue, created complaints from some local business owners, but was praised by residents and the neighborhood association.

Hubbard, who has worked closely with Mayor Laurence Leyens since Leyens took office in 2001, said he doesn’t have a problem with the proposed median.

Hubbard said he believes the former bar would make a good barber shop or beauty salon, but said he has not made any definite plans.

The El Morocco Club had been co-owned by Kathy Singleton-Green whose parents started a business there 29 years ago.