Supervisors give historic home to Heritage Guild

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Warren County Board of Supervisors have decided to donate the building that once housed the justice court facility on Adams Street.

The board voted 3-2 Monday during their regular meeting, to give the building and the property it sits on to the Heritage Guild of Vicksburg-Warren. The non-profit organization wants to refurbish the historic structure so that it can be sold with the funds used as seed money for other properties in the city the organization would like to rehabilitate.

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The structure at 1019 Adams St., which has not been occupied for more than a decade, meets the criteria of the guild as a structure with historical value and is in the historic district on a main tourist thoroughfare. It was built in the 1870s and was once the law office of John Prewitt before he became a circuit judge.

“We think it will be a win-win situation if you would consider deeding us that property, so that we can rehab it, sell it and put it back on the tax rolls,” Dinah Lazor, one of three members representing the guild, told the board during their work session last week.

District 2 Supervisor William Banks and District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon voted against the donation. Both are concerned about other organizations approaching the board seeking land donations of county property.

“My concern is that you start giving away county properties to non-profits, they’ll apply for a grant and ask the county for matching funds,” Selmon said.

Board President Richard George said such a donation of property would be enough of a commitment.

District 1 Supervisor John Arnold, who made the motion for the donation, said by doing so it takes the burden of refurbishing the structure off the county and also puts it back on the county tax rolls. District 4 Supervisor John Carlisle seconded the motion and it passed with Arnold, Carlisle and George voting in favor.

The guild has toured the building and read the engineering report and believes it will take at least $125,000 to bring it back to code requirements.

Last week, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved applying for a $10,000 state Archives and History grant to help the guild stabilize the building. The city will provide the $10,000 matching funds for the project.

The board, which will have a work session Monday at 8:30 a.m., recessed until their regular meeting on Nov. 20 at 9 a.m.