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Bids for Depot renovations, repairs come in over budget

The second phase of street paving for the South Ward had one bidder, and its price was more than $400,000 over the estimated budget for the project.

APAC of Mississippi was the lone bidder Monday for the project with a bid totaling $1.525 million, about $480,702 more than the $1.044 million budget for the work. The paving project was one of two capital projects the Board of Mayor and Aldermen received bids for Monday.

The board also received bids for the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad depot stabilization and restoration project, with Paul Jackson and Son of Brookhaven bidding $660,000, and Fordice Construction bidding $704,137, both over the estimated $510,040 budget for the project.

The board took all bids under advisement.

Phase two of street paving for the South Ward is funded under the city’s $9.2 million capital improvements bond issue.

The streets scheduled for paving under the second phase include YMCA Place, Dos Casas Lane, Capri Drive, Enchanted Drive, and a section of Moonmist Drive. South Ward Alderman Willis  Thompson said work will also include sections of Halls Ferry Road, a major north/south street in the city.

The depot project is funded through a $537,475 federal Transportation Alternative Program grant administered by the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The money covers 80 percent of the project’s cost, or $484,538, with the city paying the remaining 20 percent, or $25,502.

The initial plan for the repair project involved replacing ornamental wood work on the building’s exterior, repairing the building’s 48 windows, painting the depot’s exterior, replacing its elevator, repairing the building’s cupola on the roof, and renovations to the building’s front door to make it handicap-accessible.

The depot’s elevator has been a problem since the building reopened in 2012, at times trapping people inside on the third floor, which housed the Vicksburg Main Street offices and a conference room used by Main Street and the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Main Street and the VCVB, which rented space in the building, have since moved out because of concerns over flooding, and have relocated elsewhere in town.

The city bought the 111-year-old, three-story depot in 2001 for $295,000.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation in 2007 awarded the city a $1.65 million grant to renovate the building, and in 2009 allocated $250,000 in stimulus funds for the project.

Work on the depot restoration began in 2010, but was halted in the spring of 2011 when the Mississippi River dumped 4 feet of water into the building as it reached record heights in Vicksburg, cresting on May 19 at 57.1, 14.1 feet above flood stage and nine-tenths of a foot above the Great Flood of 1927.

The depot became a national symbol for the flood in Vicksburg and the backdrop for media coverage during the disaster. The renovation work resumed in June 2011.

The flood forced the board in 2011 to approve two amendments to the original renovation contract with contractor Kenneth R. Thompson Jr. of Greenwood totaling $56,000 to repair damage caused by the flood that was not covered by Thompson’s insurance or under the original contract.

In November 2011, the board approved a $105,660 change order with Kenneth R. Thompson Jr. to build the Main Street offices on the south end of the third floor.

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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