City approves resolutions to maintain cemetery, name welcome center for Dick Hall

Published 4:08 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Employees for the city of Vicksburg could soon be keeping up the Tate Family Cemetery on South Frontage Road.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen at a special called meeting Tuesday approved a resolution seeking a local and private, or special bill, allowing the city to provide in-kind services to the cemetery. Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said the services involve cutting and trimming grass in the cemetery.

“They’re (city employees) doing that now,” he said.

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If approved, the bill would give the city the authority to go on the 1-acre, 118-year-old private cemetery and keep it mowed and cleaned.

Located on the south side of South Frontage Road at the corner of South Frontage Road and Cypress Centre Boulevard and in front of El Sombrero restaurant and east of the Holiday Inn, the cemetery was overgrown with weeds and brush, covering grave markers and causing an eyesore.

City officials, however, were unable to locate a property owner. According to Warren County tax records, the cemetery, listed as “Cemetery-Jonestown or Tate,” was started in 1905, when the area was known as the Jonestown community. The records do not show an owner and provide no contact information.

Flaggs said Tuesday the city still had not been able to contact someone about the cemetery.

“There’s too many heirs,” he said.

Because the city could not go on the private property, the board in 2016 got a local and private bill approved allowing the city to hire a contractor to go on the property and cut and clean it. The city has cut the site since.

In another matter, the board approved a resolution seeking to name the Mississippi Welcome Center at Washington Street and Interstate 20 after Vicksburg native and former Mississippi Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall, who died in November.

Hall, 84, Mississippi’s longest-serving transportation commissioner, was appointed to the position by then-Gov. Kirk Fordice in 1999. He served three terms in the Senate and three terms in the House, representing the Jackson area in the Legislature. He was one of a few Republicans serving in the Legislature when he was first elected.

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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