Delegation in capital seeking funds for projects

Published 12:02 pm Friday, February 17, 2012

A local delegation in the nation’s capital this week was headed home today after asking for federal funding to extend South Frontage Road and to help the Mississippi River museum open and operate.

The three days of meetings with U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker and U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson to talk dollars were “open-minded and thoughtful,” Warren County Port Commission director Wayne Mansfield said by phone Thursday as he wound up the annual junket.

On the trip were Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield; Warren County District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon; Main Street director Kim Hopkins; Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce director Christi Kilroy; Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau director Bill Seratt; Vicksburg Warren School District Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Swinford and Board of Trustees members Bryan Pratt from District 1 and Zelmarine Murphy from District 2; Southern Cultural Heritage Center director Annette Kirklin; and BancorpSouth officer Mike Curtis.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The cost for travel came from each company or each entity’s taxpayer-generated general fund and was approved by each respective governing board.

Extending South Frontage over rail tracks near the Outlets at Vicksburg is short about $6 million. Several parcels of land on each side of the tracks have been acquired by the state. Mississippi Department of Transportation officials have said work should begin within a year and will precede a proposed $1 billion makeover of six miles of Interstate 20 in Vicksburg.

Mansfield said the local contingent pushed for an extra $500,000 to jump-start operational funds for the $23 million Lower Mississippi River Museum and Riverfront Interpretive Center, expected to open in August. The partially built museum, anchored by the retired MV Mississippi IV towboat, ended 2011 with about $2 million left from what was allocated to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for its construction.

Another overhead crane and pedestal to unload cargo at the Port of Vicksburg requires $5 million of new federal help. It was rolled into other voices of support Mansfield said the group lent to continued dredging of the river. In January, the Corps received $55 million in emergency funds for dredging the silting river and keeping depths safe for shipping.

Federal money also is being sought to repair flood damage at the Vicksburg Water Treatment Plant at the port, he said.