City’s parking garages could get better lighting

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 10, 2016

Vicksburg’s two parking garages could soon be getting improved lighting, part of an effort to make the areas safer and more inviting to people going to shop and eat at downtown restaurants.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Friday authorized City Clerk Walter Osborne to advertise for bids to install new, upgraded lighting in the garages on Walnut Street and Mulberry Street across from the Portofino Hotel.

Board Attorney Nancy Thomas said the advertisement will include an alternate bid to install security cameras in the building.

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“We’ll see what money we have available after we get the bids for the lighting, and if there is enough, we’ll have the cameras installed,” she said.

The board’s move comes more than two weeks after it approved hiring a security guard to patrol the garages and the downtown area on Washington Street during the Christmas holidays. The decision was severely criticized by some residents and Police Chief Walter Armstrong, who said he was not consulted about the hiring the guard and had no information about him.

“The reason we hired the security guard was to help the police department with security downtown,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said, recalling the decision. “It was nothing against the Vicksburg Police Department. I’ve been gashed about that decision and I take full responsibility.

“I thought the public’s safety was important.”

Flaggs said he would no longer hire any security guards for downtown, adding the contract with the company hired during the holidays has been cancelled.

“I will leave the job of security to the police,” he said.

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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