Crew cleaning up site while city looks for prospective buyer

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Published: August 13,2012

Tags: city, environmernt, erosion, land, municipality, property, tax

VICKSBURG — City crews began work last week to repair drainage and erosion problems on city land off Fisher Ferry Road.

The Vicksburg Post reports Mayor Paul Winfield said he is seeking a buyer willing to develop the property and put it back on the tax rolls.

The work, including materials costing about $85,000, was ordered after an inspection by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. The project is expected to take about two weeks to complete, interim public works director Garnet Van Norman said.

“”This is something that would’ve been done eventually, even if we never received the order from DEQ,” he said, adding the problem is on the south side of the site, which had been prepared for two softball fields in 2009.

He said the DEQ inspectors discovered the problems in May and notified the city by letter that repairs were required.

The city bought the 200-acre property in 2003 for $325,000. It acquired a wetlands permit in 2009 when it began developing the site just north of St. Michael Catholic Church as a sports complex. It abandoned the project later that year after spending $2.7 million on dirt work.

Van Norman said the city was required under a wetlands permit to periodically inspect the condition of the property’s drainage systems.

“Apparently that was never done,” he said. “After the city abandoned the project, we never went back in there.”

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