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New construction bids pitched for city softball complex

[11/11/04]A second round of bids has been received, and Vicksburg officials believe opening day for a new softball complex off Halls Ferry Road may be late in the spring.

The lowest bid received earlier this year for preparatory dirt work was a budget-busting $572,251. After scaling back the plans, the city on Wednesday received a low bid of $396,650 from local contractor Lampkin Construction.

In another potential delay, City Attorney Nancy Thomas said that before a contract can be awarded, an easement with an adjacent property owner is needed for access to the undeveloped 200 acres west of St. Michael Catholic Church and south of Hamilton Heights subdivision.

“We’re anxious to get going, but is it realistic that we will get this done before the season starts?” asked Mayor Laurence Leyens.

“It is possible. The softball season starts in late April, but it’s going to be tight,” said South Ward Aldermen Sid Beauman.

Phase one of the project will be the construction of six adult softball fields. Plans for the rest of the project include five other softball and eight baseball fields, a community center and nine soccer fields.

Those fields are to replace some fields at City Park and others at Halls Ferry Park.

The completed project is estimated to cost about $17.8 million and has been scaled back to fit in the budget.

A new complex was first proposed 10 years ago. A bond issue in 1993 had been earmarked for the fields to be placed on public land already cleared and leveled near the Vicksburg Airport. That money was spent instead to build the $1.7 million pool complex at City Park.

Part of Hamilton Heights and the land the city bought for $325,000 floods after heavy rains, but city officials insist the new development will be well out of the water’s range.

In other matters the city board:

Approved board meeting minutes for Oct. 18 and 25, and Nov. 1 and 5.

Presented the Senior Center senior of the month honor to Ospy Dorsey.

Presented a proclamation for Lemichael Drake, 18, upon earning his Eagle Scout badge.

Approved a request from Aquaterra Engineering for use of the city right-of-way on Belmont, West Pine and Bridge streets to install inclinometers to measure movement in the slope adjacent to the Kansas City Southern Railway tracks.

Authorized the building inspection department to demolish two structures not in compliance with city building codes.

Entered into a grant agreement with the Mississippi Arts Commission and a contract with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra for the city’s 180th birthday celebration.

Accepted a letter from the Zoning Board of Appeals recommending that the code of ordinances be amended to allow bars that do not serve food in the downtown district by special exception. Last month the board amended the ordinance to ban those bars in that area, but Thomas said that would violate a section of the state’s ABC statute.

Adopted an amendment to the code of ordinances to outline the new ward lines following the 2000 Census.

Paid $400 to show two movies on the night of Dec. 4 following the downtown Christmas parade that begins at 5:30 p.m.

Authorized Main Street to spend funds from the downtown taxing district for advertising and other holiday-related activities.

Approved a $2,000 advertisement for the Jackson Touchdown Club Sports Hall of Fame awards banquet.

Tabled requests for funding from the Warren County Economic Development Foundation and the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce.

Approved $8,100 for the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation for fall programming.

Approved free use of the City Auditorium for the school district on four occasions this year.

Approved a $175 holiday advertisement with River 101 radio.

Approved the claims docket.

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