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Mayor Flaggs: Residents offering to donate land for animal shelter

It is possible that Rifle Range Road will not be the site for Vicksburg’s proposed animal shelter.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said Monday local residents have approached him about donating property for the shelter.

“We’ve had two people come and offer to donate (land) and I think both of them are great; both of them are great spots,” Flaggs said at Monday’s meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. He said one site has already been toured by city officials.

“I think one more (piece of property) is coming,” he said.

Flaggs would not identify the potential donors or locations pending an inspection of the land by city officials.

“It wouldn’t be fair because we’ve (only) looked at one site,” he said.

He did say Tuesday that one property has already been ruled out and that he expects to name a site during Friday’s board meeting.

The announcement marked another chapter in the story of the city’s search for a new animal shelter that began in 2019 when Flaggs said at a July 2019 budget meeting that the city would make building a new animal shelter a priority.

Supporters of a new shelter plan to hold a march Oct. 1 from 6-7 p.m. from Veto Street along Walnut Street and ending at City Hall to express their concerns about an apparent lack of communication from the city about the shelter’s progress.

“If the mayor has found something he doesn’t have to pay for, we’re all happy about it,” said Vicksburg resident Marilyn Terry, who is one of the residents moving the push for a new shelter.

“As long as the location works for the animal control people, it’s fine,” she said. “That’s the general consensus from the group (Friends of City of Vicksburg Animal Shelter) that’s trying to get this to happen.

“We always wanted a location that doesn’t flood, that’s convenient and safe for the public to come through and is in the city limits and it doesn’t infringe on anyone else. That’s a tough thing to find and if they’ve found it, that’s up to the city.”

For more than 11 years, Terry said, the board tried to “find city, county and state property but they were unable to do that. None of the property worked.”

She said the Oak Street property, which at one point was considered as a possible location for the shelter, had problems, adding she found the Rifle Range Road property in a trust.

The board became aware of the 14.3-acre Rifle Range Road property in August. While Flaggs and Aldermen Michael Mayfield and Alex Monsour say they support building a new shelter, the city does not have the estimated $1.5 million to buy the property and build the facility.

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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