Vicksburg mayor wants consultants to help plan city growth

Published 5:00 pm Friday, June 10, 2022

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said Friday he believes it’s time to look at developing an urban renewal plan with help from the consultants who developed Vicksburg’s redistricting plan.

Flaggs appointed City Attorney Kim Nailor and Community Development Director Jeff Richardson to meet with representatives for Slaughter & Associates of Oxford to discuss two issues.

“We need to look at whether or not and when should we look at a second urban renewal plan for Vicksburg,” he said. “We’ve got to do something along the Mississippi River.”

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Flaggs said he also wants the consultants “to look at the daytime and nighttime population of Vicksburg. That means how many people are in the city limits of Vicksburg in the daytime hours, preferably 8 (a.m.) to 5 (p.m.) — the working hours — and the nighttime.

“I’m determined to find out how many people actually work in Vicksburg, live in Vicksburg,” he said. “Going forward, I think we need to know that as we look at the business growth and development in the city. That is simply to know how many people we serve in the daytime versus the nighttime.

“I want to know how many people are staying in Vicksburg, shopping in Vicksburg, have jobs in Vicksburg or just passing through Vicksburg.”

That information is important, Flaggs said, as the city looks at growth and its future tax base.

“We cannot continue to grow the city and continue to be a productive city not knowing how much it’s costing us in the daytime and nighttime,” he said. “Once we get that data I think we can sit down and map out a strategy going forward as it relates to how we conduct Vicksburg 5 to 10 years from now.”

After the meeting, Flaggs said there are some areas in town “that we need to look at how we urbanize them and create tax incentives and other incentives for development; kind of like what they did downtown.”

Flaggs said he wants Slaughter & Associates to develop a report that “will be able to tell us which would be the best locations to start,” and what incentives would attract housing, business or recreation development to depressed areas of the city to create an enhanced quality of life.

“I think it’s time to start looking at multi-family units, housing, a recreational area — we’re looking at Riverfront Park — incentives for retail.”

Flaggs believes the population count is necessary “because in order to grow a city, you need the data on who’s living there and who is benefitting from city services. I don’t recall that ever being done in Vicksburg.”

He said the information on population would be done by survey.

“We’ve got two big employers in the city; you’ve got the Corps (of Engineers) and ERDC (the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center). I’m not sure who’s working over there and living here,” Flaggs said.

“We’re at a crossroads in the growth and development and we need to know which way to go to enhance our development,” he said. “It’s time for the experts to come in.”

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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