Riverfront Park repairs still not completed

Published 7:38 pm Thursday, August 17, 2017

Work to repair a 2-year-old landslide at Riverfront Park remains unfinished as city and county officials determine whether to include the cost of resurfacing the playground areas in the project.

The estimated cost of repairing the slide is $350,000.

But according to a letter from the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to the Warren County Board of Supervisors, city officials also want to include resurfacing the park’s three play areas with artificial turf — an additional cost estimated at $45,000.

Riverfront Park is operated jointly by the city and county, which under a special agreement split the cost of maintenance and capital improvements. The city is the lead agency and bills the county for its share of the cost.

City and county officials say they have the money to pay for the repairs. Resurfacing the playground areas is a separate question.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said the playgrounds need resurfacing immediately.

“I’m afraid if we don’t replace that, it’s going to become a liability to us, because kids can easily get hurt, and that’s the most used park in the city,” he said.

But Board of Supervisors president Richard George wants to wait until the city and county get the true cost of the slide repair before considering any other costs.

“I want to see what the contractor says and figure out the finances of repairing the slide before going ahead with anything else,” he said.

County administrator John Smith said the board is expected to discuss the work at an Aug. 28 work session.

A section of the bluff on the south end of the park began slowly sliding off the bank in April 2015, taking part of the park’s perimeter fence and walking trail, and threatening one play area, part of which sits on the slide.

A portion of the equipment in that play area will have to be removed to allow equipment access to the slide area to repair it, said Brian Robbins with Stantec, the engineering firm hired to prepare the plans and specifications to repair the slide.

“To fix that slide, we’ve go to do some excavation of that overburden (top soil) and it’s along the top bank of that river,” he said.

“In order to get that equipment there, we’re going to have to remove some of the playground equipment and then replace it when we’re done, because we don’t have enough room to work so we can get the track hoes in to be able to run up and down the bank.”

The plan, Robbins said, involves dirt work and rehabilitating underground drainpipes, which were part of the cause of the slide.

A leaking waterline, which also contributed to the slide, has since been repaired by the city.

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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