Vicksburg board votes for second attempt for $25 million RAISE grant for port
Published 1:26 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2022
City officials are taking a second shot at getting $25 million for the proposed new Port of Vicksburg.
The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday approved a resolution authorizing the preparation of the application for a $25 million RAISE grant. City officials initially applied for the grant in 2021 and were denied.
In a related matter, the board hired Neel-Schaffer Engineers to assist with the grant application at a cost not to exceed $40,000. The company was also hired to assist with the first application.
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The grant is available through the $1.5 billion Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, or RAISE, discretionary grant program administered through the U.S. Department of Transportation. The grants are reimbursement grants, meaning the grant recipient pays for the work and is reimbursed by the grant.
The grants are capped at $45 million for the federal 2022 fiscal year.
“It allows us to get $25 million to help with the port,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said.
While the grant initially required a 30-percent match, Flaggs said the revised grant regulations no longer require the match. When the board applied for the grant in 2021, the city and Warren County agreed to split what was then going to be a $7.5 million match.
The $25 million in grant funds is seen as funding to start the proposed port’s development.
City and county officials and area economic development officials are considering a site off U.S. 61 South for a proposed inland port and industrial center and are trying to acquire 28 parcels of land, totaling approximately 1,034 acres and totaling more than $830,000 in appraised value according to county tax records.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the Warren County Board of Supervisors filed suit in Warren County Court to acquire 20 parcels through eminent domain after the six owners of those properties refused offers for the sites.
According to an aerial photograph of the area, the proposed site is located along the Mississippi River, south of Entergy’s Baxter Wilson power plant and the mouth of Hennessey’s Bayou. Entergy has announced it is shutting down the plant’s remaining generation unit and closing Baxter Wilson on May 31, 2022.
City and economic development officials have been discussing a new port for Vicksburg for the past three years, and have invested money in marketing and feasibility studies for the project.