City hires consultant to help plan development in Kings community

Published 6:01 pm Saturday, August 25, 2018

A Houston, Texas, consulting firm has been hired to develop a community and economic development plan for the Kings community.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Friday approved a contract totaling $98,000 with Hawes Hill & Associates of Houston to develop the plan, which according to the contract is expected to take up to six months to complete.

“We’re trying to do a study that will incorporate everything from just north of Haining Road all the way to the (U.S.) 61 North Bypass and North Washington (Street),” North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said. “That’s going to incorporate everything on the east and west sides of North Washington. We’re aware that the great majority of North Washington on the west side is in the floodplain, so there’s nothing we can do in the 100-year floodplain.”

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

He said the study will look at housing, infrastructure and recreational facilities. He said the city will have to look at drainage and work with the Kansas City Southern Railroad to establish drainage districts, “And the list goes on.”

“But mainly, it’s making sure when this study is done, it’s done in a manner that we can hopefully afford to help everybody in those areas where they can build up the standard of living,” Mayfield said. “We’re hoping to maybe be able to put in a drug store and connect it to a variety store. It’s (the study) going to be tedious. I think we have a very good group (working on the plan).”

The project will be split into two phases, with the first phase costing $27,500, and the second phase, if the board decides to continue the project, costing $70,500. The cost will be paid from $1 million in capital improvement bond money set aside for Kings by Mayor George Flaggs Jr. in 2017 to help fund improvements in the community.

Flaggs and the Rev. Willie P. Taylor, chairman of the Kings Community Transformation Committee, traveled to Houston in June to visit with Hawes Hill representatives and discuss the community. Company representatives were in Vicksburg from Wednesday through Saturday touring the city and Kings.

According to the contract, the first phase of the project will be a community assessment and concept plan, where Hawes Hill representatives will make a three-day visit to examine the Kings community, its character and condition, and discuss working concepts for redeveloping Kings. The visit includes meeting with city officials and area business and community leaders.

After the visit, the company will prepare a community assessment and concept plan memorandum based on the visit to Kings and Vicksburg.

The second phase includes recommendations and plans for physical and economic development with an action and finance plan.

The completed plan will be published in bound copies and a digital version that will be given to city officials.

Flaggs earmarked $1 million for Kings shortly after beginning his second term in July 2017.

About $150,002 of that money is being used to cover the city’s share of an estimated $645,010 project to improve drainage in Kings. The remainder is covered by a $495,008 National Resources Conservation Service grant.

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.

email author More by John