Warren County Supervisors approve Port Commission purchase of additional plots of land

Published 2:44 pm Friday, June 24, 2022

The Warren County Board of Supervisors heard a request made by the Warren County Port Commission this week and approved a resolution to purchase two additional pieces of property for the Port of Vicksburg expansion.

The properties, which front the port expansion’s proposed entrance site, U.S. 61 South, were appraised as required by law, and the price was set at $25,000 per acre, based on the appraised value.

The first property discussed encompasses 1.16 acres, making the appraised value $29,000. The second parcel totals 4.84 acres at the same value per acre, for a total of $121,000.

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“Acquiring the property is critical to moving forward with additional steps that would be needed to make the port a reality,” said Board of Supervisors President Kelle Barfield. “Fair market appraisals are a basis for making reasonable offers to the property owners of the appraised parcels.”

District 3 Supervisor Shawn Jackson and District 2 Supervisor William Banks voted nay on the resolution.

Since the port expansion was announced in late 2021, the Port Commission has worked 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.

Vicksburg-Warren Economic Development Partnership President and CEO Pablo Diaz explained that the new port expansion, as it’s now officially known, is just that — an expansion of the current Port of Vicksburg located off Haining Road. 

“There is one and only one Port of Vicksburg; this new site is just an expansion of that,” Diaz said during Tuesday’s Port Commission meeting. “And this body (the Warren County Port Commission) is the administrative body over that port.”

The proposed site is located along the Mississippi River, south of Entergy’s Baxter Wilson power plant and at the mouth of Hennessey’s Bayou. Entergy shut down the plant’s remaining generation unit and closed Baxter Wilson on May 31 of this year.

The Port of Vicksburg is the 15th-largest inland port in the country based on millions of tons, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers data. According to the Partnership, the port supports 21 industries that employ 4,000 people.

In July 2020, Seabury Marine LLC, a company hired by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, published a Port of Vicksburg Market Analysis that gave a snapshot of what markets and businesses could be attracted by expanded port operations.

The report showed that the expansion of services in Vicksburg, whether through expansion at the current port or construction of a new port working in combination with existing facilities, has the potential to bring in millions of dollars in new investment and create hundreds of new jobs.