City and county will repair park

Published 7:25 pm Monday, August 28, 2017

City and county officials will proceed with repairs to a 2-year-old landslide at Riverfront Park and to replace the surface on the park’s three play areas.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the Warren County Board of Supervisors Monday agreed to include both projects under one contract, which will go out for bids at a later date. The city and county jointly operate the park, and split the cost of maintenance, operation and repairs.

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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.

To fix it, a contractor will have to excavate top soil along the top bank of the river — a project that will require removing some playground equipment to provide enough room to make the repairs, which involves dirt work and rehabilitating underground drainpipes, which were part of the cause of the slide.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Aug. 10 sent a letter to the supervisors seeking to replace the play area surfaces as well as the slide repair. The cost of replacing the artificial turf-like surface is $45,000 and the cost of repairing the slide is $350,000, according to the letter.

Stantec representative Brian Robbins said Monday the estimate to repair the slide on the south end of the park is $293,110, making the total cost of repairing the slide and replacing the play area surfaces approximately $338,110. The city and county have each set aside $150,000 for the repairs.

“The plans and specs are ready; we’ve just been waiting on this conversation, whether you want to add to it,” Robbins said.

“This (the surface) is more of a safety issue than anything,” South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour said. “It’s torn up everywhere where the seams are; it’s coming apart. It’s going to be a matter of time before somebody trips on that. Even around the perimeter (the areas), there’s sharp edges. It’s only a matter of time before somebody gets hurt out there.”

North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said he and city public works director Garnet Van Norman examined the problems at the park about two years ago, “And for safety reasons alone, you’re going to have to replace it (the surface).”

County attorney Blake Teller asked members of both boards if they should close the park until the play area problems are fixed. “I wouldn’t want to leave it open if you’re saying it’s a matter of time,” he said.

Monsour said he would have a city crew trim the ragged areas down.

“I can get them to trim it to where they (visitors) don’t drag on it and anything else. But it’s got to be trimmed, because if you leave it out there exposed, it’s just a matter of time before you tear it again,” he said. “Then we can go on in and repair it.”

Van Norman said once work begins on the slide area, the park will have to be closed until the project is finished.

“They’ll need to get their equipment in,” he said.

And part of the preparations for repairing the slide involves removing the one play area affected by the slide.

Board President Richard George suggested the boards wait until the repair is completed before installing the new surface.

“It seems to me if you’re going to do a repair job down there, the major work would be done first while you have got the equipment in and the playground equipment moved. Then at one time do all your surface repair then put the playground equipment back, rather than doing two installations of ground cover. It ought to be all done in one job.”

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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