City of Vicksburg gets EPA grant extension for Mercy Hospital assessment

Published 2:36 pm Monday, October 2, 2023

The Environmental Protection Agency has allowed the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen a one-year extension on a Brownfields assessment grant that will allow the city to perform an environmental assessment of the old Mercy Hospital building.

Community Development Director Jeff Richardson discussed the extension at Monday’s board meeting.

“We’d like to see what’s in there to do a Phase 1 and Phase 2 environmental (assessment),” Richardson said after the meeting, adding that the city has no plans to buy the building. “We just want to see what’s there.”

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The old Mercy Hospital was one of the properties targeted by the city under a $300,000 Brownfields assessment grant from the Environmental Protection Agency that was awarded in May 2020. The grant was set to expire on Sept. 30, so the board requested an extension. Grants Administrator Nancy Allen said $113,616 in grant funds remain.

The seven-story former Mercy/ParkView Regional Medical Center building on the corner of McAuley Drive and Grove Street was built in 1957 and has been vacant since February 2002, when Merit Health River Region opened.

In August 2001, hospital officials said they were seeking a buyer for the hospital and were also discussing its possible donation to Alcorn State University, but talks with Alcorn failed.

At one time, the 330,000-square-foot building located on 16.27 acres off McAuley Drive was listed on the real estate website with a $2.1 million price.

Discussing the building in April 2019, Flaggs said it could be used as a residential care home.

“There’s a number of things that could happen, and I want to help (the owners) if that’s what they want to do,” Flaggs said at the time.

In 2011, Mountain of Faith Ministries promoted a plan to convert the nuns’ convent on the property into a homeless shelter, but the plan was dropped due to serious opposition from residents in the neighboring Wildwood Subdivision.

In February 2021, Coast Airsoft, a Norcross, Ga.-based company that offers people the opportunity to participate in military-type experiences, used the Mercy Hospital building for one of its events, “Operation Bone Strike V.”

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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