Investment made by voters four years ago is paying off

Published 5:05 pm Thursday, April 8, 2021

Four years ago, Vicksburg was locked in another round of municipal elections, with incumbents up for re-election and a slate of newcomers and age-old competitors lining up. 

But while this year’s election features the same slate of offices up for bid, there is one issue from the previous election that has long been resolved and long been validated.

Four years ago, Vicksburg voters overwhelmingly supported a measure to use a special sales tax on lodging and restaurants to fund the construction of a much-needed sports complex within the city. Today, that complex — Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi — is not only a reality but it is providing the massive economic impact officials believed such a facility would.

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And while the largest economic impact the park has is from weekend tournaments that attract thousands of players, friends and family members, the park has grown to have a social impact on Vicksburg and Warren County, providing a nearly year-round home for youth baseball, soccer, flag football, kickball and more.

What started out as nearly unusable land that often flooded Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi has become an example of what can happen when local government and business come together on a great, much-needed idea. 

Today, the park not only attracts hundreds and thousands of visitors on any given weekend for tournaments, but thousands more throughout the week for youth baseball games, soccer matches and more.

And the success of the park has spurred the need for future development — particularly along the Halls Ferry and Fisher Ferry corridor that leads to the park. 

As traffic along that route continues to build, the roads and traffic control need to be improved to meet the demand. Businesses in the area need to work to capitalize on the huge number of visitors, by investing in their properties and expanding their operations and hours, along with investors seeking out property along the route for future growth.

Also, a second route into that area, likely from U.S. 61 South, that has long been discussed needs to be looked at once again. Its creation would allow easier access to the complex and to the nearby U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center.  

Four years later, the vision shared by our leaders and supported by voters is working and paying dividends in more than just economic ways. That vote is paying off in better lives for our children. What better result from an investment could you hope for?