It’s time to move forward with recreation plans

Published 9:00 am Thursday, June 4, 2015

Vicksburg city officials took an important although out of sequence trip Tuesday to South Carolina to review sports and recreation complexes and learn how city officials there handle its recreation program and manage its facilities.

We think the trip came a bit out of natural order of finishing our sports complex, possibly at no fault to our city officials. Recent heavy rains have caused city officials to delay, re-schedule and delay again, trips to review three properties being proposed for use as a sports and recreation complex.

Before city officials spend any more tax dollars to learn about the management and handling of sports complexes it’s time to spend the time to select a site. Potential sites include city property on Fisher Ferry Road, Ring Road on the east side of U.S. 61 South, southeast of Immanuel Baptist Church, and near the intersection of U.S. 80 and Mississippi 27. Fisher Ferry has flooding issues, but FEMA and other agencies say the best use of flood-prone properties is a recreation site. Of course, city officials have already said they favor the Fisher Ferry property because it is the most economically feasible, but decided to look at more sites aver several residents expressed concerns saying that traffic would become congested.

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

That’s a minor inconvenience to put up with for a major need.

Also, access to the property off Fisher Ferry Road is difficult and could require building an outlet from the property either directly to U.S. 61 South or to nearby Dana Road, which would connect the property to U.S. 61 South.

In May 2014 Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. appointed a committee to examine the city’s recreation program and the need for a sports complex for the city. But the project dates back to former Mayor Paul Winfield, who frequently talked about a sportsplex but was never able to produce results.

The committee in December released a report recommending a multipurpose recreation complex on 270 acres of land featuring baseball and softball fields, soccer fields, tennis and basketball courts, walking trail and a multipurpose building with an indoor swimming pool. All are good additions.

“We need to offer people a variety of activities,” Southward Alderman Willis Thompson said. “One thing I hear from a lot of people is ‘we don’t play baseball or softball; we’re interested in other activities.’ We need to address that.”

The need is obviously there. Now let’s pick a site and begin to make the sportsplex a reality.