One company bids on new sports complex

Published 9:00 pm Monday, December 18, 2017

Canton, Ga.-based The Sports Force, which the Board of Mayor and Aldermen hired in 2016 to prepare a feasibility study on the Fisher Ferry property, was the only company to submit a proposal to finance, build and manage the proposed sports complex on the property.

The company’s proposal was referred to a committee appointed by Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to review and study proposals and select a company to build and operate the complex. If the board approves the proposal, city officials will begin contract negotiations with The Sports Force. Once a contract is signed, officials project it will take 18 months to complete the project and open the complex.

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Flaggs asked city attorney Nancy Thomas if the committee could meet and have a recommendation to present at the board’s Friday meeting. Thomas said she would contact the committee members.

Flaggs said five companies picked up the city’s request for proposals for the project.

“I hope we try and get it on the fast track if we can,” he said. “There’s a lot of children out there waiting on the sports complex.”

“I was expecting more (proposals) than this,” North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said after the board received the proposal Monday. “I thought we would get at least 3 or 4. I’m surprised we only got one.”

South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour added he was also hoping for a bigger response to the city’s request for proposals, “But now let’s get it to the committee, let them review it, and let’s get it off the ground and get it done,” he said.

The Sports Force in August presented plans for a proposed complex to the seven-member committee appointed by Flaggs to oversee the design and construction of the complex.

According to an artist’s rendering presented at the August meeting, the complex featured nine multiuse fields that can be used for soccer, baseball or softball; and championship fields for baseball, soccer and softball — all made of synthetic turf, as well as a splash pad, ropes course, walking track and other recreation activities, including a miniature golf course.

Once completed, the park will be the only one in the state with all artificial turf.

The design for the complex uses just 75 acres of the 200-acre property and avoids any impact from flood-prone areas of the property. Under the plan, the fields could be transformed into 11 youth baseball or softball fields, 18 youth soccer fields or nine full size lacrosse or full-size soccer fields if needed for tournaments.

Aug. 14, a delegation of Vicksburg city officials toured The Sport Force’s Cedar Point Sports Center in Sandusky, Ohio, touring a multipurpose sports facility that is considered similar to the proposed complex for Vicksburg.

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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