Riverfest asked to move stage due to water main woes

Published 12:45 pm Thursday, April 1, 2010

Organizers of the 2010 Vicksburg Riverfest are scheduled to meet with city officials today to determine how the April 16-17 celebration will be affected by the water main woes on Washington Street.

“The city has requested we move our stage that usually sits at China and North Washington streets,” said Erin Hern festival president. She said the stage might have to be moved two blocks, to South and Washington.

Festival planners will publicize the slide situation to prepare out-of-towners for any changes, Hern said. Depending on the weather, thousands of people crowd downtown streets for street dances and other events.

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Washington Street, from Grove to Main, has been closed to traffic since Friday when contractors for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who had begun excavation work for an interpretive center, noticed a dip in the street and the shifting of earth near the 36-inch pipe.

Kenya Burks, chief of staff to Mayor Paul Winfield, said departments throughout the city are working together to reduce further damage.

“We don’t want anything to cause additional vibrations,” said Burks.

She said the city also is working with the federal officials in deciding on a course of action. “They’re still working with the Corps as far as a rerouting of the water line,” said Burks.

Winfield said this morning the city is getting a cost estimate on moving the water main off Washington Street, north of last week’s slide, to First East Street.

“We’re supposed to be getting some numbers on that this evening or tomorrow,” he said.

A break in the main near the city’s water purification plant at the E.W. Haining Industrial Center in 2006 cost the city $60,000 to repair.

Vicksburg and Warren County officials declared a state of emergency Monday to solicit funding and assistance in the event the line would break, which would stop service to city and some rural customers.

Burks said Wednesday evening that the temporary hold of packed sand below the movement is still secure.

Unrelated, in a special called meeting Wednesday afternoon, the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen OK’d a contract for engineering services with IMS Engineers of Jackson for a pair of Natural Resources Conservation Service road and bank stabilization projects on North Frontage Road and Pauline Street. NRCS projects are 85 percent federally funded, with a 15 percent local match, plus engineering fees.