MDOT awards large grant to Port Commission to make needed repairs

Published 9:34 am Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Warren County Port Commission has received a $908,958 grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation for work at the Port of Vicksburg.

“This a project that comes from the comprehensive analysis that you did with Stantec to evaluate what needs to be done to bring the port up to speed,” Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce executive director Pablo Diaz told the commissioners Wednesday. Diaz also serves as port director.

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The work involves rehabilitating one of the port’s warehouses to provide a dry storage area for the port, which Diaz said should help increase port business. He said the total cost of the warehouse project is $956,808, adding WATCO, has agreed to pay 10 percent of the project cost not to exceed $100,000.

In return, the commission will extend WATCO’s lease on the warehouse three additional years after the project is completed.

Diaz said the project involves work to the warehouse floor, walls, ceiling, lighting and its electrical system. Work is expected to be completed by January 2018. He said a starting date has not been set, pending the completion of signing the grant documents with MDOT.

The Port Commissioners in June 2016 hired Stantec, the county engineers, to work with WATCO to develop a facilities plan to help commissioners set priorities for infrastructure repairs.

At the time, former port director Wayne Mansfield said the port had a lot of infrastructure needs.

“We really need to analyze where we are, what we’re spending (money) on, where our revenues are and maximize revenue and minimize cost,” he said.

Diaz worked on the grant soon after he was named the new port director, and delivered it to MDOT.

“We have other warehouses in the port that need rehabilitation,” he said, “And we are looking for funding to rehab those.”

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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