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City approves improvements for 61 airport

[11/25/04] Work at the Vicksburg Municipal Airport on U.S. 61 South to make improvements that are part of a $3.3 million plan should begin next month.

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted Wednesday to award a $461,124 contract to Superior Asphalt of Jackson. The contract, expected to take 60 days, is for overlaying the runway at the 54-year-old airport and a seal coating over the taxiway.

The work is being funded by a $650,000 state grant awarded to the city last year.

Other phases of the plan include improving approach slopes and improving the north runway safety area.

Safety at the municipal airport had been a big part of the rift between its supporters and supporters of the Vicksburg-Tallulah Regional airport in Mound.

A 1998 2-1 vote by a previous city administration to close the city airport started years of litigation that eventually reached the Mississippi Supreme Court. Justices ruled that the city had the right to close the airport, but a new administration opted to keep it open and fund both airports as long as there was still demand.

Vicksburg is also a one-fourth owner with Madison Parish, Warren County and Tallulah of VTR, eight miles away in Louisiana. Combined, the outlay for the airports is not a big budget item. Both generate most of their operating revenue. For example, last month’s allocation to VTR was $840 from each owner.

In other matters the city board:

Approved a budget amendment of $10,000 for new equipment for the sewer department.

Approved a temporary construction easement for Ergon Properties Inc., for work at Halls Ferry and South Frontage road.

Granted 90 days to local builder Paul Campbell to submit a plan for four concrete slabs on Rosedown Street. Campbell, who owns the properties, said he does not want to tear out the slabs where homes once stood because residents in the neighborhood use them for basketball courts. Officials said the slabs could stay if they are better developed as basketball courts.

Approved a request from the Salvation Army to place a Christmas kettle at Crawford Square on downtown Washington Street.

Set a public hearing for 10 a.m. Dec. 10 at City Hall Annex to accept input about new precinct boundaries to be used in the 2005 municipal elections.

Authorized submittal of a grant application to the Mississippi Development Authority for first-time homebuyer funding.

Received a $250,000 grant from the Mississippi Development Authority for the construction of six new water wells.

Appointed Rachelle Wynn, Nathaniel Williams and Bobby Tarver to the Initiative Inc., board of directors.

Allocated $20,000 for the Vicksburg Retirement Development program.

The City Board will meet again at 10 a.m. Dec. 6 at City Hall Annex.