Groundbreaking Tuesday for sports complex

Published 9:00 pm Monday, June 18, 2018

City and Sports Fields officials will mark the start of construction for Vicksburg’s sports complex off Fisher Ferry Road with a groundbreaking ceremony at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the site.

“It’s been an longtime coming,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “It’s going to be the biggest game changer since the Civil War for this city — one of the biggest.

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“I think it’s going to be a great amenity to attract a whole different market of people to the city of Vicksburg who will be able to stay in our hotels and eat in our restaurants, which is good for our sales tax. It’s an economic boom.”

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen May 13 signed an agreement with Sports Fields of Canton, Ga., the parent company of the Sports Force, to build the complex. Site work is underway at the property, and an entrance to the property has been built off Fisher Ferry to the north of St. Michael Catholic Church.

The complex is expected to be completed by spring 2019.

Under the agreement, the city will pay a $250,000 per year stipend to help cover marketing and local use costs. The money will also cover the costs of local recreation organizations using the complex. The contract also requires the city to pay an $800,000 development fee when the complex is substantially complete. Substantial completion is expected by Dec. 31.

The board on May 7 passed a resolution of intent to issue up to $26 million in general obligation bonds for the project. The bonds will be used to pay the lease on the complex when it is completed, and will be paid with the revenue from the city’s special 2 percent sales tax on restaurant food and beverage sales and hotel room rental.

Under the agreement between the city and Sports Fields, The Sports Force will lease the city’s property on Fisher Ferry Road from the city, build the facility, and lease it back to the city, which will pay rent to allow the developer to recover its costs for designing and building the complex.

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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