City board OK’s $25K trails grant

Published 9:25 am Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Residents and visitors to Vicksburg will soon be able to walk around the city using a system of trails through city’s downtown and historic areas developed using a $25,000 Lower Mississippi Delta Initiative grant.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday authorized Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to sign a grant agreement with the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce Community Fund and the National Park Service, clearing the way to plan the walking trails through the city. The board in July 2014 approved a resolution authorizing the city to provide a $15,000 match of in-kind labor for the project.

“This grant agreement is to develop a series of five walking trails to traverse the downtown area, the historic districts and downtown neighborhoods,” said Bill Justice, Vicksburg National Military Park superintendent. “The trust project will benefit local residents, as it will provide health and fitness opportunities while at same time providing heritage walking tours that cover Vicksburg’s rich and diverse architecture and history.”

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Community Development Director Victor Gray-Lewis said city officials have been working on the trails project for more than a year. The trails will vary in length and will be developed in phases, with the city overseeing hiring contractors for the project besides providing some of the work.

“We’re excited. The trail head will be at the (Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad) Depot downtown, and we will have five different urban trails coming from the depot on different courses within the downtown neighborhoods,” he said. “I think this is going to be good for Vicksburg.”

Besides enhancing tourism, Flaggs said the trails will give residents alternative routes for their daily walks, relieving some of the walking activity at the Vicksburg National Military Park “so it can get back to being a tourist attraction.”

“We’re pleased they’re going forward with the project,” chamber executive director Jane Flowers said. “We’re all for it.”

She said the chamber’s community fund will serve as the financial agent for the grant.

Because the Chamber recruits retirees into Vicksburg and Warren County, Flowers said, the new trail will be another selling point for our community.

“I understand that walking has passed golf as an interest for retirees who may be looking at communities for retirement,” she said. “I’m so thankful that we have a Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce Community Fund to solicit these funds to help with such a worthwhile community project.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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