City of Vicksburg pushes animal shelter bid opening back one week

Published 11:14 am Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Supporters of a new animal shelter for Vicksburg will have to wait an additional week to find out how much the new shelter will cost.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday pushed the second bid opening for the project back one week — from Jan. 3 to Jan. 10 — in an attempt to get more companies interested in bidding on the project.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said the move was made on the recommendation of Community Development Director Jeff Richardson.

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“He said the first of the year was a bad time to receive bids and to give them (bidders) more time,” Flaggs said.

The board initially advertised for bids for the new shelter on U.S. 61 South in August but rejected the two bids it received in October because both exceeded the project’s $1.67 million budget.

More than a month after rejecting the bids, the board on Nov. 23 re-advertised the project with changes in the bid specifications that are expected to bring the bids more in line with the project budget.

City officials have considered a new animal shelter for several years. The current shelter is more than 50 years old and sits on a tract of land on Old Mill Road adjacent to the Vicksburg Fire Department’s training center in the Kings community.

The shelter is in a flood zone and is subject to being surrounded by flash flooding. It was threatened by the 2019 flood and animals had to be evacuated in the 2011 flood. City officials considered several potential sites, including city property in a section of Cedar Hill Cemetery off Sky Farm Avenue.

On Feb. 21, 2020, Flaggs, other city officials and city resident Marilyn Terry, who provided a recommendation for a shelter building, toured the former U.S. Rubber Reclaiming plant off U.S. 61 South, which is owned by the city and located in a flood zone, and a site in the 2100 block of Oak Street, south of Depot Street.

Problems with the Oak Street property forced city officials to remove the site from consideration. The board also considered a 14.3-acre tract at 4211 Rifle Range Road owned by Cappaert Holdings LLP, but the city said it could not afford the $1.5 million to buy the land and build the shelter.

The board in September 2020 accepted the donation of property and a metal building at 4845 U.S. 61 South from the Ernest Thomas family as the site for a new shelter.

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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