City’s ownership of Kuhn Hospital property is a good step forward

Published 10:37 am Thursday, November 10, 2016

The city of Vicksburg has crossed its first major hurdle in razing and clearing the Kuhn Memorial Hospital property, by taking full ownership of the property.

Now, as North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield put it, the city is entering the second phase of its efforts to transform the former city and state hospital property from an eyesore to something that will benefit the community and the neighborhood surrounding it on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen have taken the first step in that second phase by hiring a consultant to help seek an Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields grant to help pay what is estimated as an $850,000 price tag to remove asbestos and raze the buildings on the property, removing an underground diesel storage tank and clear and clean the property. And all of these next steps will take time — months, possibly years, before the property becomes suitable for another kind of development.

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There have been several suggestions for the 12.8-acre property, including a recommendation as the site for a new county jail.

The board, however, has its own plan, approving in April a resolution adopting and authorizing a 33-page urban renewal plan to first demolish the buildings on the property and clear it, then begin the process of finding a developer or nonprofit agency to develop it into a multipurpose residential/commercial development with recreational facilities.

While that sounds far-reaching, the plan could be a very good use for the property. The document lays out a proposed plan to have the property developed as a residential/business neighborhood with recreational facilities and single- and multi-family homes, and such a development could prove a means to improving the neighborhood surrounding the property.

We have for sometime pushed to have the Kuhn buildings torn down and the property cleared and put to other use, and we’re glad to see the city moving in the right direction with the property, and they need to be congratulated for persevering to get the land.

Our hope is now that the city has the property, the road toward the successful conclusion resulting in the clearing of this property will be much smoother and will result in the eventual redevelopment of the site into something the city and its residents will be proud of.