Bid on work at railroad depot rejected; must be re-advertised

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen will try a third time to get a contractor to repair and stabilize the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad Depot on Levee Street.

The board Monday rescinded awarding a bid to Paramount Construction of Jackson to make the repairs after the Mississippi Transportation Commission rejected it because the city had not advertised for bids in the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson.

The project is funded in part by $471,475 in federal Transportation Alternative Program funds, which are administered by MDOT and cover 80 percent of the project’s cost, requiring the Transportation Commission’s approval.

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Because the project involves money administered by MDOT, city attorney Nancy Thomas said, state law requires the city to also advertise for bids in a newspaper with statewide circulation located in the seat of state government.

“We failed to advertise in the Clarion-Ledger, and because of that, MDOT will not concur with our reward,” she said. “We will have to reject the bid and hopefully re-advertise in the Clarion Ledger.”

The depot project involves replacing ornamental woodwork on the building’s exterior, repairing the building’s 48 windows, painting the depot’s exterior, replacing its elevator, repairing the building’s cupola on the roof and renovations to the building’s front door to make it handicap-accessible.

The board on Sept. 24 opened four bids for the project, marking the second time it took bids on the project. The board in March rejected two bids because they were over budget.

A base bid of $340,000 by Washington County Properties LLC of Greenville was the only one of four under the project’s $498,513 budget. With the project’s two options included, the bid increased to $420,000, still under the project’s budget. Other bidders included Fordice Construction of Vicksburg, $554,230; Paul Jackson and Sons of Brookhaven, $499,000; and Paramount Construction, $511,358.

The board in October rejected Washington Counties’ bid because company officials failed to follow the proper procedure when they submitted the bid, and awarded the bid to Paramount.

The city bought the three-story depot in 2001 for $295,000.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation in 2007 awarded the city a $1.65 million grant to renovate the building, and in 2009 allocated $250,000 in stimulus funds for the project.

Work on the depot restoration began in 2010, but was halted in the spring of 2011 when the Mississippi River dumped 4 feet of water into the building as it reached record heights in Vicksburg, cresting on May 19 at 57.1, 14.1 feet above flood stage and nine-tenths of a foot above the Great Flood of 1927.

The depot became a national symbol for the flood in Vicksburg and the backdrop for media coverage during the disaster. The renovation work resumed in June 2011.

The flood forced the board in 2011 to approve two amendments to the original renovation contract with contractor Kenneth R. Thompson Jr. of Greenwood totaling $56,000 to repair. 

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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