Bent shaft keeps elevator at depot from going to top

Published 11:29 am Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The three-floor elevator at the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad Depot has been limited to two floors because the shaft is bent at the top and has stranded riders, city maintenance officials said.

The problem also has forced the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors, which shares the building’s third floor conference room with Vicksburg Main Street, to move some of its monthly meetings to the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce on Mission 66 because some board members cannot climb the depot’s stairs, VCVB executive director Bill Seratt said.

City building maintenance director Sammie Rainey said the top of the elevator shaft, which ends on the building’s third floor, is tilted, causing the elevator’s doors to jam.

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“If there’s people inside, we have to go pry open the doors,” he said. “Sometimes, the elevator doors on the third floor jump the track. This is giving me nightmares.”

Main Street and VCVB moved into the depot in February.

Rainey doesn’t know what caused the problem, adding, “We started having trouble with the elevator after the flood, but I can’t say that the flood caused it. The elevator has been in this building a long time.”

Buildings and inspections director Victor Gray-Lewis, who was the city’s project director for the restoration, said the elevator was not included in the contract.

Rainey said Midsouth Elevator of Jackson, which handles repairs and maintenance on the elevator, is developing plans to straighten the shaft, but has presented no cost estimate.

Work on the depot restoration began in 2010 and was halted in the spring of 2011 when the Mississippi River dumped 4 feet of water into the building as it reached record heights in Vicksburg, cresting at 57.1 feet.

The depot became the backdrop for media coverage during the flood.

Renovation work resumed in June 2011.