City of Vicksburg seeking $1 million-plus for Sports Force repairs

Published 2:05 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2023

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen is seeking more than $1 million in Natural Resources Conservation Service money to repair two ball fields at Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi.

The board on Monday voted to apply for $1.09 million to repair an erosion problem that is undercutting the fields and affecting the playing surface. Ward 2 Alderman Alex Monsour said the erosion is affecting the outfields of both fields, adding the problem prevents the city from installing lights at the fields.

“There’s a slight erosion on the outer fields (in the park) and we can’t put up the lights until we get the erosion fixed,” Monsour said.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Raymond Joyner, the watershed planner for the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District, said the money is tied into the natural storm event that caused the Rolling Fork Tornado and Neel-Schaffer was hired by the city to assess the problem and estimate the project’s cost.

Joyner said the storm met the NRCS criteria to qualify for emergency funding and the city’s application for the money will go to the state NRCS office and forwarded to the NRCS in Washington, D.C. The city, he said, is the project sponsor.

“What we don’t know is how quickly it will come back,” he said. “Typically, with these projects, once they make it out to this point (the application), they eventually are funded; some quickly and sometimes it gets caught up in the process for funding.

“We’re hopeful that since it’s tied into the Rolling Fork tornado we’ll get a quick response back.”

Joyner said city officials approached the Soil and Water Conservation District about the erosion problems at Sports Force Parks. Because the city is the project sponsor, he said, it was responsible for hiring the engineers to perform the analysis for the project.

“Everybody that’s been out there knows there’s a problem out there and they want some help,” he said. “The first thing in this case is trying to find out exactly what the problem was, where it starts, where it stops, what’s causing this; trying to get a history of what has gone on and to nail down how to fix it.”

Built on 75 acres of the city’s Fisher Ferry Road property, Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi opened in mid-February 2019 with a softball tournament and has continued hosting baseball, softball and soccer tournaments.

The park was built under a plan where parent company Sports Force leased the site for the sports complex on Fisher Ferry Road from the city, the facility and leased it back to the city, which pays rent to Sports Force and allows the company to recover its costs for designing and building the complex.

Money for the lease comes from the revenue raised by the special 2 percent tax on hotel room rentals and food and beverage sales approved by voters in 2017.

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.

email author More by John