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City, ERDC reach agreement on emergency services

The Vicksburg Fire Department will provide fire and emergency medical service to the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center under an agreement between the city and ERDC.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the agreement Friday at a special called meeting.
City attorney Nancy Thomas said the city was contacted by ERDC officials about the agreement.

The agreement is a renewal of one between the city and ERDC that goes back to the mid-1980s. That was when ERDC, then known as the Waterways Experiment Station, disbanded its in-house fire department and asked the Vicksburg Fire Department to provide protection in areas of the station inside the city limits.

Fire Chief Craig Danczyk said the department also provides emergency medical service to ERDC.

“To me, it’s one of those great examples of a strong partnership between ERDC and the local city government,” said Hank McDevitt, deputy to ERDC commander Col. Ivan Beckman. “The city has expertise that we don’t have, and they’re willing to be good neighbors and support us in the event of an emergency.”

In another matter, the board approved an agreement with the National Resource Conservation Service to secure rights of way for the Hennessey Bayou bank stabilization project.

The city is seeking NRCS funds to help cover the cost of stabilizing erosion on Hennessey Bayou near Entergy’s Baxter Wilson power plant on Kemp Bottom Road and an erosion problem at the Warrenton Road bridge. Thomas said the city already has an easement for the project from Entergy.

The city is receiving $3.75 million in state emergency funding to stabilize the bank erosion on the bayou and replace the Kemp Bottom Road bridge, which collapsed in July 2017.

The erosion problem that caused the bridge’s collapse dates back to the 2011 spring Mississippi River flood, when the river crested at 57.1 feet, 14.1 feet above flood stage and nine-tenths of a foot above the Great Flood of 1927.

Kemp Bottom Road is the main access to the Baxter Wilson plant.