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August 2, 2013

Vicksburg sportsplex proposal shelved

VICKSBURG —

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — Vicksburg city leaders have shelved plans for a sports complex.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. told a budget meeting this week that a shortage of money and the city's bond rating will prevent the construction of a recreation complex "any time soon."

Flaggs said if the Fisher Ferry property purchased for recreation is not going to be used for that purpose, it needs to be sold.

"If we're not going to use that property, we ought to put a for sale sign on it, sell it and use the money for recreation," Flaggs said. "We need to improve our other facilities."

The 200-acre Fisher Ferry property was bought in 2003 by the city for $325,000 to develop a sports complex. The Vicksburg Post reports (http://bit.ly/18UqNVI ) construction was stalled after city officials during the last administration said it was too flood-prone for a complex.

"We're nowhere near a sports complex," Flaggs said. "We've got to get our bond rating back. A sports complex is a long-range goal. We need to look at how we can repair what we've got."

Parks and Recreation Director Joe Graves said he has had problems getting money for repairs and maintenance at the city's parks.

"We've been put on the back burner because they said we were going to get a new sports complex," he said. "We've been hearing that for five, six years."

City leaders plan to tour the Fisher Ferry property and other city recreation facilities. They will also consider re-forming the city's parks and recreation commission that was disbanded in 2001.

City officials abandoned the Fisher Ferry Road property project was abandoned in 2009 after an additional $2.7 million was spent for preliminary plans, engineering and dirt work.

Former mayor Paul Winfield in 2012 promoted an estimated $20 million sports complex funded by a half-cent sales tax. The proposal died in the Legislature.

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