City receives animal shelter bids; to name contractor Wednesday

Published 12:50 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2023

A contractor for a new Vicksburg animal shelter is expected to be named Wednesday afternoon.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen received four bids for the project at its Monday meeting and took them under advisement. The board later recessed the meeting until 3 p.m. Wednesday to award a bid on the project.

The board’s next meeting is Jan. 17, but Mayor George Flaggs Jr. didn’t want to wait, saying the decision on a contractor “is too important; I’m not waiting any longer on this.”

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Flaggs said a committee made up of Finance Director Doug Whittington, Community Development Director Jeff Richardson and City Attorney Kim Nailor will review the bids and recommend a contractor.

All four bids were under the project’s $1.67 million budget, with Fordice Construction of Vicksburg as the apparent low bidder.

Fordice submitted a total bid for the project of $1,273,500. Other bidders included: Timbos Construction Inc. of Cleveland, $1,370,760; J E Stevens Construction Group of Jackson, $1,416,100; and Benchmark Construction of Jackson, $1,456,300.

The bid opening was the second on the project. The board on Oct. 6 rejected bids from Fordice and J E Stevens because they were over the project budget. Some of the plans and specifications for the project were later modified and the city re-advertised the project on Nov. 22.

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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