Park will be developed in downtown

Published 6:14 pm Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The site of the Vicksburg Farmers’ Market at Washington and Jackson streets will be developed into a park.

The Board of Mayor and Alderman Monday authorized city clerk Walter Osborne to advertise for bids for the park project, which is estimated to cost about $127,000.

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“We tried at least two times to build a farmers’ market on the property on Washington Street,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “The first time it (bids) came in at $600,000, the next time it came in at $700,000. We have decided that we will do something different (that is) maintenance free once you build it, and to incorporate green space.”

Russ Markle of Wier Boerner Allin architects of Jackson, who designed the park, showed the board several conceptions of the park, adding, “We have a pretty flexible alternative. It’s a meandering sidewalk with landscaping, a stage for performing arts (and) green space for flexible activities.”

The drawings also show a layout for the farmers’ market and an arrangement for showing outdoor movies.

“It’s a very minimal installation, but it gives you a great amount of flexibility to adapt and find things that we haven’t even imagined,” Markle said.

Flaggs said the park will also be the location of one of two downtown clocks, and the city plans to install benches in the park bearing the names of people who were instrumental in the development of the city and the downtown area.

The board in 2015 dedicated $550,000 from the city’s $18 million capital improvements bond issue for a farmers’ market pavilion to be built on the market site at the corner of Washington and Jackson streets.

Plans for the pavilion envisioned it to be a multi-use facility for other programs and events when the farmers’ market was not being held. The board in 2016 hired an architecture firm to design the pavilion and went out for bids that came in well over the project’s budget. Two of the four bids submitted for the project were in excess of $1 million.

After a second attempt to get bids for the pavilion ended with the lowest bid totaling about $700,000, the board cancelled its agreement with the architect and put the project on hold while Flaggs considered alternatives.

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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