Flaggs, Gilmer not happy with county jail site proposal

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Warren County Board of Supervisors’ decision to locate a new county jail at Ceres Industrial Park is raising concerns among port commissioners and Mayor George Flaggs Jr. about its potential effect the industrial park’s growth and economic development.

The supervisors voted to put the jail at the county’s industrial park Monday morning. Margaret Gilmer, Warren County Port Commission chairman, said port commissioners learned about the board’s action after the meeting.

“We understand the supervisors have a tough decision to make, and we believe we must support them in finding the right location for the jail,” she said Tuesday.

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“That being said, as a port commission, we are very concerned about the idea of locating the jail at Ceres as we believe it will negatively affect our overall economic development efforts, and hinder business recruitment and expansions at the industrial park.

“This is not an easy issue, but I am confident we can all work together to find a site that provides what our community needs without adversely affecting the community’s job creation efforts.”

Flaggs agreed, saying putting the jail at the industrial park could “adversely affect the particular businesses that may be able to go out there.”

Warren County Board of Supervisors President Richard George said Tuesday it was no secret the industrial park location has been on the list of sites for the new jail.

“We can’t control the reaction for anything we are charged to fulfill,” George said. “We evaluated 23 sites and there were concerns about those as well. The industrial park, all things considered, is the best location and that hasn’t changed.”

The area for the proposed jail site in the industrial park is on the west end of Armory Road.

So what’s next?

“According to the law of the land, it has to be blessed by the city and the legislature,” George said. “We’ve offered a site and now await a decision from the city.”

Flaggs wants to meet with the supervisors, Diaz and chamber president Mark Buys to try and work out a compromise site for the jail.

“My understanding is there were multiple sites inside the city that were not even considered,” he said, adding there are four sites — two in the northern part of Vicksburg and two in the southern part — that can be used for a jail.

“So I’m holding out my decision based on whether we can reach a compromise or not,” he said. “If we can’t reach a compromise on it, I cannot vote to go out to Ceres. I’m open to discuss it. (But) if the economic community, the business community, is against it, I’m not going to run over the economic arms of this community, the port and the chamber.

“Based on the economic community, Ceres is not a good site. It’s my understanding they never talked to the port or the chamber (about Ceres). How can you do business and not talk to the port?”

Managing editor Rob Sigler contributed to this article.

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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