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We hope city keeps residents, tourists in mind when choosing engineering firm

The city took one step closer toward improving the riverfront Monday when the Board of Mayor and Aldermen accepted proposals from three engineering firms for the design and engineering of improvements to Levee Street.

The project is funded in part by $534,000 in Federal Transportation Alternative funds from the Mississippi Department of Transportation. It is aimed at making Levee Street more tourist-friendly by adding and improving sidewalks and improving the parking lot across from the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Depot, which houses the Old Depot Museum that helps tell Vicksburg’s and Warren County’s story.

The Levee Street improvements are part of the overall plans for the city’s riverfront area to make it more appealing to tourists and residents by adding parks, an amphitheater and a bus stop and bus parking for tour buses.

And if the city is serious about improving the riverfront, improving Levee Street is a good place to start. The Depot Museum and the nearby Levee Street Marketplace are popular tourist attractions, and easily accessible for tourists coming off the boats when they land, and they need a safe path to visit both. But right now, that safe path with good sidewalks and away from traffic, from the corner of Grove Street to the Marketplace, is missing.

A committee appointed by Mayor George Flaggs Jr. is reviewing the three proposals received by the board. We hope they will take a good, long look at each and then try and pin down the representatives for each firm to ask them to outline their vision for the project, including a plan to reduce tractor-trailer traffic on Levee Street.

If we are to have a riverfront that will be inviting and welcoming to tourists and if we want Vicksburg to be pedestrian friendly, we have to make sure our streets and sidewalks are safe and in good condition.

That means making sure Levee Street, the first street tourists coming off the boats see, provides a safe, attractive, welcoming environment that will encourage people to walk along the riverfront and get out and visit our city.

We hope our city officials keep that in mind as they review those proposals.