Street work evidence of bond issue progress, but more is needed

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 25, 2015

The first physical part of Vicksburg’s $9.2 million capital improvements bond issue is set to begin next month.

Sometime in the first week of November, equipment and employees for Central Asphalt Co. of Vicksburg will begin the process of repairing and resurfacing Warrenton Road in the South Ward, the first of the city’s streets to be paved.

Warrenton Road, with its worn and rutted surface is a fitting road to start the city’s two-phase, $4.6 million paving project, which will include six other streets in the South Ward and Mission 66, Martin Luther King and streets in Cedar Hill Cemetery in the North Ward. The contract for the North Ward paving is expected to be awarded sometime in November.

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All the projects listed in the city’s overall $18 million capital improvements project such as recreation and city improvements are important projects, and the $9 million first phase will address several problems in the city.

But the city’s streets are probably the more important of the first phase, because they address problems that have plagued the city for years. And when visitors and potential businesses and industries come to town to look at a site to either relocate or start a new facility, the condition of a city’s roads and streets can play a crucial role.

Mission 66 and Martin Luther King are major city streets. Mission 66, with its connection to Clay Street, is part of the city’s feeder system that takes motorists downtown and to attractions like the river and the Vicksburg National Military Park. Warrenton Road is a bypass from Interstate 20 to U.S. 61 South. The small roads inside Cedar Hill make it difficult for people to negotiate the cemetery and find their loved ones. The cemetery is also a tourism stop.

But the most important aspect of the start of the paving project is evidence — the proof that something is being done — that the bond issue is not just a blank check for the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to waste.

The projects on the improvements list are seriously needed projects and have been needed for sometime. All someone has to do is drive our city’s streets to see how bad this work is needed, and the board should be applauded for moving forward with this part of the capital improvements program.

Other projects like city building repairs and the farmers’ market pavilion planned for the market site at the corner of Washington and Jackson streets are on the drawing board and nearing completion. Plans for the famers’ market pavilion have already been reviewed and amended.

So with the work beginning on the streets and plans being prepared for buildings, its time for the city to get the rest of the project in gear and start moving toward construction and completion. The best way to show taxpayer money being used to support this bond issue is being used wisely is construction and lots of it.

Hopefully, the board will grant other notices to proceed for other projects and let the residents know progress is under way.