Major city, county projects need to begin

Published 9:00 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2018

City and county officials begin 2018 with several pending major projects that can have a huge effect on the future of Vicksburg and Warren County.

One is the new county jail. Countless grand jury reports have emphasized the need for a new county jail, but at this point, county officials seem no closer to having the project shovel-ready than they were at this time last year.

The sites selected by the Board of Supervisors at Berryman Road and at the Ceres Industrial Park have both met opposition. The Berryman Road site is opposed by businesses along East Clay Street, where many of the city’s hotels are located, and the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is concerned about the impact of a jail near the area. Ceres is opposed by the Warren County Port Commission and city officials because of the impact the jail may have on further developing the industrial park. Since Ceres is located outside the city limits, the city’s support for putting the jail there is critical.

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On the city’s end, the relocation of city utilities needs to be completed if the proposed extension of South Frontage Road is to get underway and completed. Also, the city needs to move forward on the construction of an auxiliary waterline to backup the city’s main waterline — a project that began in 2010. The importance of having a backup water line was emphasized in May when the city had to shut the mainline down for several days because of a broken valve and issue a boil water notice.

Another project affecting the city’s water service is the electrical system upgrades at the water treatment plant on Hanining Road, which has also forced the city to shut down service because of problems. There is also the proposed U.S. 61 South bypass road, which is supposed to alleviate traffic problems on Halls Ferry Road and provide access to the sports complex.

If Vicksburg and Warren County are to attract new business and industry to the area and become the tourism destination our officials want the area to be, these projects have to be started and either finished or very close to completion by the end of this year.

It is time for the city and the county officials to stop talking about them and get them underway.