National Park Service approves land transfer for Riverfront Park

Published 4:06 pm Friday, November 10, 2023

Vicksburg and Warren County officials can begin developing the site for a new public park on the riverfront.

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Thursday announced the National Park Service has approved the use of the 5.4-acre Golding property at Oak and Lee streets for a park and deleted the 11.96-acre former Riverfront Park site.

“I want to thank the congressional delegation — Rep. Bennie Thompson, Sen. Roger Wicker and Sen. (Cindy) Hyde-Smith — for intervening on the City’s behalf of making sure we open the Riverfront Park back in a new location,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “I think that the letter that I wrote had a significant impact.”

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“We are elated that we are a step further in the journey to relocate the Riverfront Park,” said Riverfront Park Committee Co-Chairman Fermika Smith. “The job of the Riverfront Park Committee was to propose a park with an infrastructure that will attract residents and visitors to our city.

“I’d like to thank my fellow co-chair, Linda Fondren, the dedicated committee members, board attorneys for the City and County governments, and City and County leadership for their time and commitment to this effort and a special thanks to the Golding family for the donation.”

City Attorney Kim Nailor said she has submitted a deed and donation agreement to the Golding family, which requested the park be named for the family in return for the donation.

“Once we get the deed signed and recorded, we then have to do what’s called a limitation of action to put on the deed that it is restricted, that that property can only be used for the park, and we will record that at the courthouse,” Nailor said.

After the deed is recorded, she said, the city has three years to provide an as-built plan and develop the replacement property.

“So we have three years to go ahead and get started on getting this done,” she said.

The former Riverfront Park was initially closed in February 2020 after heavy rains caused two landslides on the riverbank and on the hillside near the park road that covered the road in two spots.

Two years later, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the Warren County Board of Supervisors, which jointly operated the park, voted to close it permanently because it was too expensive to repair the slide areas.

The Golding family on Feb. 13, 2022, announced they would donate land for a new park and the city and county boards appointed a joint committee to plan and design it.

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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