Restoration project on historic depot finally has a contractor

Published 7:20 pm Wednesday, May 9, 2018

After four tries, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen have a contractor for the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad restoration and stabilization project.

The board Monday awarded the bid for the project to fix the 112-year-old Depot on Levee Street to Historic Renovations of Yazoo Inc.

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“This is magnificent; it’s going to work out fine,” said Dave Benway, museum curator and director. “We’re very happy that’s finally moving.” He said the contractor’s representatives were at the building to looking over the areas to be renovated.

Historic Renovations’ bid of $525,000 was the lone bid received by the board in March, and marked the fourth time the city accepted bids for the project. The company submitted a bid for the work in January, but it was rejected because the company failed to provide the necessary documents required under the bid specifications.

The depot project involves replacing ornamental woodwork on the building’s exterior, repairing the building’s 48 windows, painting the depot’s exterior, replacing its elevator, repairing the building’s cupola on the roof and renovations to the building’s front door to make it handicap-accessible.

The project is funded in part by $471,475 in federal Transportation Alternative Program funds, which are administered by the Mississippi Department of Transportation and cover 80 percent of the project’s cost.

Built in 1906, the three-story depot was bought by the city in 2001 for $295,000.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation in 2007 awarded the city a $1.65 million grant to renovate the building, and in 2009 allocated $250,000 in stimulus funds for the project.

Work on the depot restoration began in 2010, but was halted in the spring of 2011 when the Mississippi River dumped 4 feet of water into the building as it reached record heights in Vicksburg, cresting on May 19 at 57.1, 14.1 feet above flood stage and nine-tenths of a foot above the Great Flood of 1927.

The flood forced the board in 2011 to approve two amendments to the original renovation contract with contractor Kenneth R. Thompson Jr. of Greenwood totaling $56,000 for repairs.

When the repairs and renovations were completed, Vicksburg Main Street and The Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau leased offices in the building, but later relocated after the 2016 mid-winter Mississippi River flood threatened the building once again.

Benway said vacant space on the second floor will be occupied by the Depot Museum’s diorama of the Siege of Vicksburg and other exhibits.

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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