Kings committee discusses plans for $1m allotment with Mayfield

Published 6:56 pm Friday, April 13, 2018

Better lighting, pavilions and a baseball park top the list of improvements proposed by a committee of residents from the Kings, Ford Subdivision, Waltersville and Chickasaw communities.

The 10-member committee appointed in July to determine the best way to spend $1 million in capital improvements bond money met with North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield Thursday at the Kings Empowerment Center on R.L. Chase Circle to discuss the proposals.

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Poor lighting and a lack of recreational facilities have been a problem in the area.

Mayfield said the city has a contract with Entergy to replace and upgrade streetlights in the city, with the city paying for the upgrades. He said Entergy officials are in the process of studying and upgrading the city’s lights, and most of those upgrades, he said, will be the installation of new high-density lights in the current fixtures.

He said the installation of any new light poles or systems in the area could come from the Kings allocation.

“If you want to go and install new lights and redo an entire area, that could come out of the $1 million,” Mayfield said.

However, he said, whether any new lighting systems are installed would be up to Entergy.

“The city does not determine where the lights go,” he said. “That is determined by Entergy. They will go out to an area and survey it and determine if extra lighting is needed. If they decide it’s not needed, they won’t install the lights.”

Mayfield said he has looked at the lighting situation in Kings, “And I believe all you’re going to need in most places is an upgrade in the lighting to high-intensity bulbs, and the city will pay for that.”

Committee chairman the Rev. Willie P. Taylor said the committee is considering building a baseball park and pavilion on Hutson Street across from Kings Crossing Road and a second pavilion behind Bethlehem M.B. Church on North Washington Street.

Other residents asked about using some vacant properties in Ford Subdivision, which were cleared as part of a Federal Emergency Management Agency buyout program after the 2011 spring flood.

Because federal law prohibits building new homes on the property, parks and recreation are considered preferred uses for the vacant properties.

Mayfield told the committee if it wants to have properties dedicated for recreation, it needs to make the request in a letter to the board.

“Get together as a group, decide what you want and present your request to the board,” he said.

Taylor said he was doing research on a recreation project for Kings, adding he was going to Houston, Texas, which was damaged by flooding from Hurricane Harvey, to meet with officials there to look at some parks.

“I chose Houston, because it’s the fastest growing city in America, and because it’s a model for flood recovery,” he said. “When I get back, then I’ll meet with the mayor and present a plan.”

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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