Flaggs: MCITy, Port to spur retail, population growth for Vicksburg

Published 4:21 pm Friday, January 13, 2023

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. believes two projects in the city will help attract more population and retail outlets to Vicksburg.

“I really believe it will come when MCITy reaches its full potential and the (new) port,” he said Friday. “I think the goal is to bring an increased population to the city, where it’s going to create more demand for goods. I think the port and the full impact of MCITy is going to create what we need going forward.”

Flaggs’ comments follow remarks he made at a Wednesday town hall meeting at Catfish Row Museum.

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During the meeting, Flaggs said the city needs to attract more retail stores, a comment that drew applause from residents at the meeting.

“We’ve got to get at least one to two franchises,” he said Friday.

Having the Thad Cochran Mississippi Center for Innovation and Technology, or MCITy, and the Port of Vicksburg expansion completed and in operation, Flaggs said, will help the city attract a more diverse population that would make the area attractive to retail businesses and franchises.

“We’re talking about attracting millennials and high-tech people and workforce development,” he said. “That (tech and workforce development) attracts a much more sophisticated workforce and population, so per capita income ought to go up.”

A key component of the 2018 economic development plan developed by the Vicksburg-Warren Economic Development Partnership with the city and the Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce, MCITy was designed to help the community develop job-related technology capitalizing on the presence of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center.

The building is home to ERDCWERX, an affiliate of DEFENSEWERX that occupies the third floor of MCITy and has a mission to cultivate a vibrant ecosystem and shape successful alliances to innovate and commercialize technologies that support the warfighter.

Other tenants in MCITy include the Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce and Hinds Community College’s Emerging Technologies Training Center to provide training and technical support for students, small and emerging businesses and existing industries.

The Port of Vicksburg expansion is still in the planning stages.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the Warren County Board of Supervisors have acquired more than 1,000 acres of land of U.S. 61 South for a proposed inland port and production center that is expected to hire 500 people on completion.

Flaggs called the proposed port expansion location “a primary site; a site that, had we had it 10 years ago, you wouldn’t know Vicksburg now. Once developed will be one of the biggest ports on the Mississippi itself.

“The growth and development (of Vicksburg) is going to come in a progressive way because of MCITy and the port and that would increase revenue, too,” Flaggs said.

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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