City sports complex proposals due Monday

Published 6:51 pm Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Board of Mayor and Alderman is hoping its request for proposals will result in a contract with a company that will finance, build and manage a quality facility on the city’s property off Fisher Ferry Road.

The board will receive the proposals when it meets Monday.

“We hope we can find a single source that can construct, design and operate and possibly finance this project for us,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said Friday. “We thought we had a great RFP, so we’re just looking forward to see who applied. I’ve heard we’ve had four (companies) pick up packets. There are people out there who are interested for sure.”

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North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield and South Ward Aldermen Alex Monsour said they are waiting to see what happens.

“You just never know what you’re going to get when it comes to proposals of bids,” Mayfield said. “You just put it out there and hope you get the best that you can.”

The board issued the RFP Oct. 29.

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 Flaggs 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.

A point system will be used to grade the proposals, with points awarded for experience working tournaments around the country, experience building turf-type fields, and 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. The contract is awarded to the highest scoring bidder.

The board is also looking to build a bypass road from U.S. 61 South to Halls Ferry Road to eliminate traffic problems on Halls Ferry. The road will also provide access to the sports complex.

The board on Oct. 9 accepted proposals from four engineering firms, EJEF Inc., Waggoner Engineering and Stantec, all of Jackson, and Linfield, Hunter & Junius Inc. of Metairie, La.

They proposals were referred to a special committee appointed by Flaggs to review and a recommend a company. No date was given when the committee will make a recommendation.

The total cost of the sports complex and the road is estimated at $30 million — $20 million for the sports complex and $10 million for the road.

Funding for the projects will be done through the Mississippi Development Bank, which issues revenue bonds for local governments to fund capital improvement projects, unless the sports complex developer funds that project.

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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