Rock added to ditch in Kings area

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Adding about 1,000 more feet of rock to the banks of a narrow drainage ditch in Kings will apparently have the desired effect — keeping alive Warren County’s eligibility for a much larger project funded with a Katrina-related disaster grant.

Riprap was put in place by contract crews in the past week to strengthen walls at Hutson Street and Round Alley, chosen as a pilot site to assess how the rest of a wide-ranging bayou clearing project should progress.

Supervisors asked for and were awarded $3.9 million in April 2008 to address occasional midtown flooding made worse by debris-choked sections of Glass, Hatcher and Stouts bayous. Months of negotiations ensued, with some supervisors balking at the conditions of the grant and the legal difficulties involved. There were also discussions with the City of Vicksburg asking the municipal government to undertake the project because most of the work is inside the city limits.

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Then, faced with losing the money if substantial work was not begun by year’s end, supervisors chose the 1,868-foot area in Kings to keep quotes below $50,000, avoiding a bid process, and to meet a Jan. 1 deadline.

Additional work in the pilot area must be put out for bids and depends on securing clear title to six properties in the north Vicksburg community. Multiple heirs to those parcels involve negotiations on 14 easements. The county has taken a wait-and-see approach on what should be done at the bayous mentioned in the grant agreement, with the success of the test site seen as a key.

Funds were awarded as part of a $5.48 billion recovery package awarded to Mississippi from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development via the Mississippi Development Authority. Eligible counties included 49 declared federal disaster areas following Katrina and Rita in 2005. Vicksburg and Warren County were awarded more than $5.2 million for the bayou work and for a new fire station at Vicksburg Municipal Airport, on which construction began in September.


Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at