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Downtown carriages win OK from city

Frances Sheffield and her husband, W.T. Sheffield Sr., a resident of Trace Haven Nursing Home, take a carriage ride with Tom Hough Monday as Sheffield Carriage Company LLC visited the nursing home to give carriage rides to residents. (Meredith Spencer The Vicksburg Post)

[5/11/04]A plan to provide horse-drawn carriage rides in downtown Vicksburg cleared a hurdle Monday with city approval to begin selecting routes.

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a temporary permit for Sheffield Carriage Company to operate animal-drawn vehicles. The board also voted to amend a city ordinance to allow the public transportation board to set fees, approve routes and fares.

“We think it’s better to have volunteers from the public set all these fees and rules,” said Mayor Laurence Leyens. The administration appoints transportation board members, who worked during the past two years to revamp taxi requirements.

Billy Sheffield, owner of Sheffield Rental, has been testing routes. The 45-day permit from the board allows Sheffield to operate along and within the boundaries of Locust, East Main, Fairground and Levee streets with the exceptions of Clay and Cherry streets.

During that time, Sheffield has said he will be looking at what routes will work better for the horses. Similar rigs operate in Natchez and New Orleans, where steep hills are not an issue.

The city board also approved establishing a pickup location on Washington Street between Grove and Jackson streets. The transportation board will ultimately issue a permit for the horse-drawn carriage and approve the route and costs after the amendment approved Monday goes into effect in about 30 days.

Sheffield has said he expects rides to cost about $10 per person.

In other matters the city board:

In a turning of the tables, was presented the “key to Porters Chapel Academy” from the forth- and fifth-grade classes.

Recognized Travelers Rest Christian Academy pre-K classes who attended the board meeting as part of their “About the Town” program.

Approved board meeting minutes from April 9 and April 15.

Administered the oath of office to police officers Brad Derrington, a former Ridgeland officer, and Jamee Carter, a former Vicksburg officer.

Rejected sealed bids for the Bazinsky Road ballfield parking lot paving and authorized the city clerk to re-advertise.

Approved $355 advertisements in Vicksburg and Warren Central high school football programs.

Authorized the city clerk to publish a proposed franchise agreement with Ergon for use of city right-of-way to lay fiber optic cables.

Entered a contract with the State Fire Academy for firefighter training.

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