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Agreement with railroad opens way for waterfront improvements

Action Wednesday by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen clears the way for two river cruise lines to begin improving the Vicksburg waterfront.

The board Wednesday authorized Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to execute a quitclaim deed to Kansas City Southern Railroad giving the railroad its interest in the right of way for the railway bed.

The deed is part of an agreement between Kansas City Southern and the city that clears up any questions over property rights along the riverfront.

Under the agreement, the city and Kansas City Southern exchange quitclaim deeds with the railroad getting its interest in the railway bed right of way and the city its interest in the waterfront property on the north and south sides of the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Depot to install a pedestrian crosswalk on Levee Street.

“This will allow us to begin the subdivision of the waterfront,” City Attorney Nancy Thomas said after the board’s action.

Two riverboat cruise lines, Viking and American Cruise Lines have leased sites on the city’s waterfront to build docking facilities at the cruise lines’ expense.

American Cruise Lines on Nov. 25 signed an agreement to pay the city $2 per passenger under the lease. It will pay $3 per passenger if the lease is extended an additional five years. In the past, three American Cruise Lines boats have made stops at Vicksburg.

Under the agreement, American Cruise Lines will develop its area to duplicate a “park-like setting” with benches and other amenities. The company will also extend the existing concrete ramp and repair damaged areas on the leased property.

The American Cruise Line lease came about nine days after the city approved a lease with Viking Cruise Lines.

The board on Nov. 16 approved a 20-year ground lease with Viking USA LLC at a rate of $1 per passenger to use the site, which is located behind the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad Depot on Levee Street and goes north. Viking will build the dock.

Viking is leasing a 600-foot section of Vicksburg’s riverfront along the Yazoo Diversion Canal to build a facility for its cruise boats expected to arrive in the city in 2022.

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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