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City looking at Rifle Range Road property for new animal shelter

The ongoing saga of where to build a new animal shelter for the city of Vicksburg continues.

Problems with a site on Oak Street, a site that was previously selected for a new shelter, has now led city officials to a 14.3-acre tract on Rifle Range Road.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday approved an agreement with Bottin Consulting Group Inc. to appraise the property at 4211 Rifle Range Road, which at one time housed offices for the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

According to Warren County tax records, Cappaert Holdings LLP presently owns the property. The Mississippi Department of Corrections is leasing the property for its local probation and parole office, North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said.

In March, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. announced the city was in the process of doing its due diligence to purchase a 1.5-acre Oak Street site for a new facility. But Mayfield, who has been working on relocating the shelter, said the Oak Street site “has some problems there (that) I don’t know if we’ll be able to overcome.

“You’re actually landlocked on that property,” Mayfield said. “If you go west, you’re on the railroad. If you go south, you have existing property right next door. If you go north you have the railroad. If you go east, then you have very little property you can do anything with because you have Oak Street itself.”

Mayfield said the city would have to remove an existing building on the Oak Street property because it would not be useful.

Because of the problems with the Oak Street site, Mayfield said, he began looking at other properties and found the Rifle Range Road site. “We’re doing our due diligence on this property,” he said.

The Rifle Range Road property, Mayfield said, provides sufficient space to either expand the existing building on the site or build a new animal control building.

“You have buffers all the way around it (the property) and that’s a plus because regardless of where you try to build an animal control facility, somebody’s not going to like it,” Mayfield said.

He did not know if the site would be the eventual location of the shelter, Mayfield told the board, but he believed it was the city’s most feasible option.

After the meeting, Mayfield said the extra acreage would allow the animal control department to accept large animals such as horses at the facility. Large animals picked up in the city are presently housed at the Vicksburg Warren Humane Society on U.S. 61 South.

“We have to come up from where we are with animal control,” he said. “We need a more up-to-date facility. Animal control is far ahead of what it was 10 years ago. We have to come into the 21st century.”

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.

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