Mayor to discuss projects during D.C. meeting

Published 7:22 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2019

City riverfront improvements, a proposed bypass/access road for the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center and the Mississippi Hardware project top the agenda for Mayor George Flaggs Jr.’s visit to Washington, D.C.

Flaggs traveled to Washington Tuesday to participate in the three-day seventh annual Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative capitol meeting.

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

The initiative is an organization of mayors from cities and towns along the Mississippi River that works to develop economic and environmental security and stability along the Mississippi.

The mayors are expected to meet and discuss legislative issues affecting the river with congressional leaders and the Trump administration.

“I’m going because these (the initiative) are all the mayors along the Mississippi, and we create an opportunity to network and talk to Congress. I have every intention of announcing to them that we need their help on the redevelopment of the riverfront in Vicksburg,” Flaggs said at Monday’s meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

The proposed $10.9 million riverfront redevelopment project is aimed at renovating and improving the city’s riverfront area to make it more pedestrian-friendly and more appealing to visitors.

Meeting with Congressional delegation

Flaggs also plans to meet with the state’s congressional delegation to discuss possible funding for a proposed bypass/access road from U.S. 61 South to ERDC and the Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi complex “and how it ties into homeland security and our community.”

Flaggs said Feb. 22 he talked with U.S. Rep. Benny Thompson, D-Mississippi, who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, about federal funding for the road.

He announced at the Monday meeting he would convene the road committee appointed in 2017 to begin reviewing plans and routes for the proposed road.

“We are going to look at how we can begin the discussion about a road from 61 that would create an opportunity for an access road from ERDC and an access road from Grand Gulf in case there is an emergency,” Flaggs said. “And it just so happens to tie into the sports complex.

“I think the time has come for the economic opportunity for this city and the growth and development of this city that we look at building a road.”

Flaggs said he has a meeting scheduled with Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, to discuss funding for the Mississippi Hardware project to transform the building into a tech transfer and entrepreneurial center.

New floodwall?

He also plans to discuss possible plans for installing a new system to close floodwall gates in time of high water. He said the Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District is examining potential replacements for the city’s present system of installing crossties on steel frames to close the gates.

“I just believe there’s a better way of putting up a floodwall than with crossties in 2019,” Flaggs said. “It is barbaric, it is unsafe. It is inconvenient. If we can go to the moon, we ought to be able to, through hydraulic means, up and down (close the floodwall gates). I believe that.”

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