Work on the Riverfront Park remains on hold due to oil being found

Published 7:52 pm Friday, February 9, 2018

The ongoing issue of oil found at Riverfront Park doesn’t seem to be getting any closer to a resolution.

Repairs to a slide area on the south end of Riverfront Park were halted Jan. 4 after workers at the site struck oil. Since then, the city of Vicksburg and the Warren County Board of Supervisors have been working with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to try and determine the source of the oil.

So far they know that at one time Midsouth Oil had a storage facility with nine above ground storage tanks that held various petroleum products on property south of the park.

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What they don’t know is if the oil is left over from the tanks or from an old pipeline in the area. Since oil was found, MDEQ has been searching land records to see if they can find a responsible party for the problem, but no one has been found.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen awarded a $324,347.70 contract to Central Asphalt of Vicksburg to repair the slide area on the south end of the park and resurface the play areas.

The park was then closed Dec. 4 to begin repairs.

The $324,347.70 was already over the budgeted amount of $300,000 for the repairs with the city and the county each paying half.

Now due to the oil, the city has been forced to approve a $20,000 contract with PPM Consultants of Irondale, Ala., to try and determine what is causing the issue and it may end up costing additional money to resolve the issue.

Riverfront Park is the most popular park in the county and has now been closed for more than two months without the necessary repairs even being near completion.

The park was expected to be closed for 90 days, but that seems like a pipe dream now.

Hopefully the consultant firm will be able to determine the cause of the oil and they can begin cleaning it up and get the park reopened before spring and summer temperatures start rolling in.