Proposed sports complex moving forward; city seeking proposals

Published 9:00 pm Monday, October 30, 2017

The proposed sports complex is going out for bid.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday authorized city clerk Walter Osborne to advertise a request for proposals “for leasing and development services in connection with the Vicksburg, Mississippi sports complex.”

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The ad will be published Thursday and Nov. 9, and the proposals will be received Dec. 18. The complex is expected to be completed in 2019.

“We expect to be playing on the fields in spring 2019,” city attorney Nancy Thomas said.

According to the documents for the RFP, companies will be required to provide their own financing for the project, plan and design the project, build it and manage and market the sports complex and its other attractions. Each company will be assigned points based on their ability to meet the RFP requirements.

The proposals will be reviewed by a committee appointed by Mayor George Flaggs Jr. in July to oversee the design of the complex and hiring a contractor to build it.

Under the city’s plans, the selected developer will lease the site for the sports complex on Fisher Ferry Road from the city, build the facility and lease it back to the city, which will pay rent to the developer and allow it to recover its costs for designing and building the complex, which will have all synthetic turf-type fields.

Money for the lease will come from the revenue raised by the special 2 percent tax on hotel room rentals and food and beverage sales.

“This RFP contemplates that the city would choose the highest scoring bidder under the RFP and then enter into a lease that would allow the developer to perform all the chosen services the city would have it perform,” said Tray Hairston with the Jackson law firm Butler Snow, which prepared the RFP for the city.

“They would have to construct the facility after it’s designed, and this RFP builds in a function where we’re awarding a lot of points for an experienced developer that has been engaged in working tournaments around the country, that has experience building turf-type fields that would have the ability to go out and market and bring tournaments to the city in conjunction with the goals the city plans to have with the sports complex.”

“This is one of the game changers for this city; getting the sports complex,” Flaggs said. “To get a sports complex with all synthetic fields, the first in the state, is phenomenal.”

“This is going to make a difference,” South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour said. “Youth sports is a revenue generating machine, now for your local economy.”

The combination of the sports complex, the proposed water park on South Frontage Road and the proposed Margaritaville on Mulberry Street downtown will provide major revenue sources for the city, Monsour added.

“I’m excited about it,” he said.

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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