City board re-appoints park committee members

Published 8:38 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2023

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Wednesday re-appointed the city’s members of the Riverfront Park Advisory Committee that will develop plans for the new park.

The board’s action follows news on Nov. 10 that 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. The city and county decided to close the former park because of problems with erosion.

The Golding Family donated the property with the stipulation that the park be named for the family in return for the donation. The deeds for the new property are in the process of being filed with Warren County Circuit Court, city officials said.

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Once the deeds are filed, the city has three years to provide an as-built plan and develop the replacement property.

An eight-member committee was formed by the board and the Warren County Board of Supervisors in May to advise how to proceed with the new park. The city appointed three members: Fermika Smith, co-chair, Mark Buys and Laura Beth Strickland.

The supervisors appointed five: Linda Fondren, co-chair, Elizabeth Nelson, Janice Flowers, Michael Mathews and Dorwin Shields. Board of Supervisors President Kelle Barfield said the new board would discuss the committee appointments and the park at its first meeting in January.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said the city has $2 million set aside for the new park and anticipates a $2 million match from the county. He said the estimate to build the new park is about $6 million.

“We can’t afford to go one penny over $2 million or whatever the bill because of the fact that we don’t have it and we’re not going to try,” he said. “We just don’t have it in our budget this year.  or nation budget. But if the state wants to add to that for their amphitheater or whatever they desire, then we’re OK.”

After the meeting, Flaggs said the $6 million estimate is based on a design of the park.

“That (the project) may cost $6 million when you at everything they’ve got to do —grading and all that and sewage,” he 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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