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Kudos to Vicksburg Mayor and Aldermen for taking lead on park repair

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen are making a bold step in taking over the project to repair the slide at Riverfront Park.

It’s good to see someone step forward and assume the responsibility to get the problem fixed.

Riverfront Park sits on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. The slide affects a portion of that bluff.

Since it was discovered on Easter Sunday in 2015, the move to fix the slide has been in a state of limbo. This is no criticism of the city or Warren County. It took time to determine what caused the side and recommend the options for repairing it.

Fixing the cause, a broken water pipe, was the easy part. The difficult part for both the city and county was figuring out how to pay for the estimated $300,000 repair, which involves removing a section of dirt from the top of the slide, reducing pressure on the soil, and stabilizing the area. The city and county share joint responsibility for the park’s repairs and maintenance, so each had to come up with it’s $150,000 share of the repair cost.

Coming up with the money was easy for the city board, which included the money in the $9.2 million bond issue it approved in 2015. The county had a more difficult time finding the money in a tight budget.

That search has caused the delay, and over time, the $300,000 estimate issued almost a year ago could now be more expensive now than it was when the boards first received it.

Now, time is of the essence, especially with the Mississippi River going through its annual spring rise, and every day repairs are delayed could mean more time for the slide to start moving again and threatening nearby playground and picnic facilities. And Riverfront Park is the most heavily used park in the city.

“At this point, we need to get moving with some design work to go ahead and get the work in place to continue with improvements to that park,” South Ward Alderman Willis Thompson said. “The longer we wait, the worse the problem’s going to get.”

With available funds in the bond issue that can be reallocated, the city is well capable of taking the project forward to completion, and it should, before the slide’s threat becomes greater.

“We’ve got the money and safety’s a priority,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr, said, “And the longer we wait, the more it’s going to cost us.”