Mayor Flaggs outlines list of proposed improvements

Published 11:04 pm Friday, September 22, 2017

Paving and improvements to the city’s parks and recreation facilities and municipal buildings fill the list of proposed projects for the second half of an $18 million bond issue approved in 2015.

“This is the second half of the bond issue that we promised the people we would draw down,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said, adding he will officially present the list to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen after a public hearing on the board’s intent to borrow the money. No date has been set for the hearing. Flaggs also included a second list of capital items for consideration if the board decides to amend the fiscal 2018 budget in April.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Paving and parking lot improvements will receive the largest share of the second bond issue draw, getting $5.15 million of the anticipated $9.3 million. As with the first $9 million draw, $4 million is set aside for street paving in the North and South wards, with $1.15 million for work on city-owned parking lots, and roads in Cedar Hill Cemetery, which is owned by the city.

Another project under parking lot improvements is a project to realign, or improve the entrance to Riverfront Park, one of the city’s most used parks.

“When you come up out of Riverfront Park, there’s a blind side to your right,” Flaggs said. “It needs to be widened, so the traffic can flow better out of there.”

Under parks and recreation, $450,000 of that category’s $2.19 million budget is set aside for the farmers’ market pavilion at the site of Washington and Jackson streets, with $500,000 dedicated for ball field lighting at Halls Ferry Park.

The farmers’ market pavilion was included in the first $9 million of the bond issue, but was pushed back after money was needed for another project.

“The lights are old and dated,” Flaggs said of the Halls Ferry lights. “They need to be updated with LED lighting. We did some lighting on the girls softball fields, now we have to do it for the rest of Halls Ferry. Our goal is to make certain we improve Halls Ferry at the same time we build this new (sports) complex.”

Also under the recreation budget is $300,000 for improvements to the city’s riverfront area, including a floating dock, which was recommended by they city’s riverfront commission.

“They’re going to have a floating dock,” Flaggs said. “We’re going to give them $300,000 as a budget for that commission, but at least $50 to $60,000 must be spent on a floating dock. We’ve got to have a floating dock.”

The remainder of the budget, he said, will be used for security cameras, lighting and other improvements, including paintings and murals.

Work on the municipal buildings include improvements to City Hall, which also were initially planned under the first draw but delayed, and replacing the original tile and carpet at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

Also included is $150,000 for video cameras for city buildings and downtown, and $50,000 to expand and improve the city’s animal shelter.

The supplemental budget includes $485,300 in items cut to balance the fiscal 2018 budget, Flaggs said. The amendments will depend on the city’s financial picture in April, he said.

Besides purchasing vehicles for the police and fire departments and other city departments, the supplemental budget includes money to upgrade and remodel restrooms at the city’s parks, and rebuild the pavilion at Halls Ferry Park by the tennis courts.

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.

email author More by John