The future of Kuhn property is growing more clear

Published 6:40 am Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Kuhn Memorial Hospital was an icon in the city of Vicksburg. There are those who to this day take pride as being born or receiving medical care there.

But, in its final years, years marked by neglect, vandals and blight, the hospital became an icon of a decaying area and an area in need of attention and rebirth.

For years, city leaders toiled through bureaucratic red tape, environmental and brownfield studies to finally tear down the decrepit buildings. For years, they worked to find property owners, navigated through legal proceedings and jumped through many hurdles just to assume ownership of the property.

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Earlier this year, their work, time and energy became worth it as heavy equipment began the demolition.

There was a ceremony to mark the occasion and care taken to remove the debris and handle the asbestos.

Today, the lot is fenced off, cleared and waiting for attention. Unfortunately, through a few rounds of requests and invitations for bids, there remains an unclear future for this property, property that sits in one of the most desperate portions of Vicksburg for attention and love.

Monday, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen refused two proposals for the property and instead changed course and made a decision.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said the property, which sits on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, is now to become a community park, complete with a walking trail, and would be dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, civil rights heroes from Vicksburg and the rich, positive history Kuhn Memorial Hospital had in Vicksburg in its heyday.

Flaggs wants an appointed committee to begin developing ideas for the park, and propose those plans to the board.

While that is yet another step on the way to whatever the Kuhn property is to become, at least we now know what the future holds for the property.

No longer are we hoping and hoping for an investor to propose a residential development or someone else proposing a retail development.

Instead, thanks to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, the property will be something for the entire community and a place where community heroes and the community’s history can be honored and recognized.

We hope the park becomes reality far sooner than later, but we can wait, we have been patient thus far. We hope what city leaders plan for the park is something genuinely worth waiting for.