Committee chosen to help revitalize Kings

Published 10:15 am Friday, July 21, 2017

Residents in the Kings, Ford Subdivision, Waltersville and Chickasaw communities have named a 10-member committee to develop a proposal with priorities for revitalizing their community.

The committee selection followed a 1 1/2-hour community meeting involving about 35 residents, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. and North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield to discuss how to spend $1 million to revitalize the area. It was the first community meeting since Flaggs promised to dedicate $1 million for improvements in Kings.

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The group holds its first meeting July 27 at the Kings Empowerment Center on R.L. Chase Circle. It will present its proposal to Flaggs Aug. 31 at the Empowerment Center.

The members will decide whether to choose from one of three proposals from either the North Ward Capital Improvements Committee, Kings, Waltersville, Ford and Chickasaw Neighborhood Association or a plan from the Kings Neighborhood Association. The committee, Flaggs said, can also prepare its own proposals.

“I’m determined to leave it up to you to decide how to spend $1 million,” he said. “However you decide to spend it is fine with me. You’re going to tell me what to do. I can spend $1 million; I think you ought to spend it.”

Mayfield told the group the city is preparing to hire engineers to begin inspection and the design of a project to stop flash flooding in the community funded by a National Resources Conservation Services grant.

Some of the items listed in the proposals addressed drainage and recreation, speeding on North Washington, beautification, recreation, better lighting and a police precinct.

Flaggs told them the city was building Kings in the Waltersville community, and said plans were being made to improved Sherman Avenue Park, which has a severe erosion problem.

He said the community does not need a police precinct.

“You look at all the 911 calls, and they’re coming from Farmer Street and Main Street; nothings coming from here,” he said, with several residents agreeing.

One resident added another proposal.

“You need to enforce the city ordinances as far as property,” said Spouts Spring Road resident Rosemary Craft. “We try to keep our property up as best we can, but there are others who don’t.

She said one property in the neighborhood has tall grass and a derelict house.

“Everyone here is a local owner,” Zelmarine Murphy said. “We expect you to help us to fix this community.”

Murphy criticized South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour for not joining Flaggs and Mayfield.

“There are only two of our aldermen here,” she said. “When we’re talking about Kings, I expect to see both aldermen.”

She said the group would form the committee.

Murphy, who followed Flaggs to coordinate the selection of the committee, told the residents they needed to be committed to developing a plan.

“When we say we’re going to meet, we need to meet because this is serious business.”

She added the committee meetings would be open to anyone. “Come in. Your house is involved; your children are involved.

“We’re going to pull together and put the things we want in a proposal, and we want some action. We don’t want any more promises. Aug. 31 we’ll be here.”

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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