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Partnership selects engineering firm to design industrial site access road

The Warren County Port Commission took a step Monday to better prepare the Ceres Industrial Park for future growth and industries.

Using matching grants from the Mississippi Development Authority, the commission approved hiring the engineering firm Neel-Schaffer to help design and plan a road in Ceres, with the goal of improving access to the park’s large, 150-plus acre green site.

“Our goal is to have the road designed and planned by March 2020,” Pablo Diaz, president and CEO of the Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Partnership, said.

Diaz said the Partnership’s intention is to have plans for an improved and expanded access road to the site in the event an industry is interested in coming to Ceres.

Under the leadership of Port Commission President Margaret Gilmer, the commission unanimously selected Neel-Schaffer, a Jackson-based firm, out of five companies who submitted requests for qualifications.

To select the firm, the commission appointed a sub-committee to review submissions from the five companies. The subcommittee included Diaz and commission members Don Brown and Michael Roach.

“It was a thorough process; a good process,” Brown said before the decision on which firm was selected was announced.

“They did not make it easy on us,” Roach added.

In addition to each firm submitting proposals, each was also interviewed by the subcommittee, with each being judged and scored on a list of criteria.

The criteria included: proposed methodology and work plan, manpower and ability to meet project schedule, experience and qualifications of the team and related performance and achievements.

In addition to Neel-Schaffer, Allen & Hoshall, Waggoner, JKS and Stantec submitted proposals.

One caveat to the selection of Neel-Schaffer is the commission has the authority to move to one of the other firms in the event the commission and Neel-Schaffer are unable to come to an agreement on the cost for the proposed project.

In addition to the design and plan for the road, the matching grants from MDA also supported the environmental, soil borings and surveys of the green sites at the Ceres Industrial Park, all necessary to better prepare and market the sites for potential industries.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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