City accepts trails grants

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 13, 2015

The city of Vicksburg has received two grants totaling $79,000 for work on two walking trails at Halls Ferry Park and Porter’s Chapel Park.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Thursday approved agreements with My Brother’s Keeper Inc., a private, nonprofit organization, with a mission to reduce health problems throughout the U.S. and promote healthy living and the use of accessible public facilities. The city is receiving $30,000 for Halls Ferry and $49,000 for Porter’s Chapel.

My Brother’s Keeper had previously given the city a $25,000 grant to pave the walking track at City Park on Lee Street.

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The $123,750 Halls Ferry Park walking trail project is funded by a $99,000 federal Recreational Trails Program grant administered by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks.

The grant, which is provided by the Federal Highway Administration, covers about 80 percent of the $123,750 project at Hall’s Ferry Park. The city will pay the remaining $24,750.

“Their (My Brother’s Keeper) money will be used for handicap accessible water fountains, benches, signs, exercise and fitness stations along the 3/4-mile track (at Halls Ferry),” grants administrator Marcia Weaver said.

She said the Porter’s Chapel grant, will be used for architect and engineering services to design the park, clearing the trail site and installing the paved track at the park.

In a related matter, the board approved a resolution establishing a youth service component to the city’s parks and recreation department.

“This resolution will add a new services department,” said South Ward Alderman Willis Thompson, who introduced the resolution.

He said it adds a more concentrated effort by the city to develop and encourage youth activities by adding a youth services component to parks and recreation.

“It will not create any positions but will add more focus,” he said. “It includes education and career readiness opportunities, athletics, and possible grant funding opportunities.

“This is a board effort.”

The resolution sets the following goals:

• Establish partnerships with the Vicksburg Warren School District, Hinds Community College and Alcorn State to expand educational and career readiness opportunities.

• Improve and expand recreation programs and facilities, create additional city youth leagues including basketball, soccer and establish the Fuzzy Johnson baseball league.

The board has agreed to allocate $40,000 for the Fuzzy Johnson program and to upgrade Sherman Avenue Park.

• Build a sports complex to offer more opportunities for local youth to be involved in organized athletics.

• Pursue additional grants to fund and implement youth programs and activities in the community.

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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