On Monday, Mississippi’s U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, both Republicans, announced the award of $4.81 million for improvements to 18 airports in Mississippi. The U.S. Department of Transportation grants are awarded on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration.
“This large slate of FAA grants will help make targeted improvements that will improve safety, expand capacity and support economic development at airports across our state,” Wicker said in a statement.
“These FAA awards will support much needed infrastructure improvements at airports across the state,” Hyde-Smith added. The state’s junior senator serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee. “These rehabilitation, construction, and safety projects will enhance these airports as community assets that support jobs and economic development.”
Vicksburg Municipal Airport is being awarded $99,558 to expand the apron to 4,350 square yards.
The other FAA grants for Mississippi will support the following airport improvement projects:
- Magee Municipal Airport, City of Magee – $1,045,000 to rehabilitate 3,500 feet of the runway
- Columbia-Marion County Airport, Columbia and Marion County – $600,000 to reconstruct 3000 feet of taxiway
- New Albany-Union County Airport, City of New Albany – $478,080 to rehabilitate 7,800 feet of runway lighting
- Cleveland Municipal Airport, City of Cleveland – $477,628 to expand the apron to 18,900 square yards
- Philadelphia Municipal Airport, City of Philadelphia – $403,583 to install a 15,000-foot perimeter wildlife fence
- Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, City of Gulfport – $319,500 to update the airport master plan study
- Greenwood-Leflore Airport, City of Greenwood – $250,000 to rehabilitate 10,000 square yards of the apron
- Tunica Municipal Airport, City of Tunica – $169,740 to support acquisition of land for approaches
- Belzoni Municipal Airport, City of Belzoni – $150,000 to rehabilitate 1,850 feet of taxiway and 3,000 feet of runway
- Yazoo County Airport, City of Yazoo City – $150,000 to construct 6,000 square yards of apron
- Thigpen Field Airport, City of Bay Springs – $149,877 to rehabilitate 3,000 feet of runway
- Trent Lott International Airport, City of Pascagoula – $138,308 to rehabilitate 6,500 feet of runway
- Booneville/Baldwyn Airport, City of Booneville – $90,900 to rehabilitate 5,000 feet of the runway and taxiway and 3,000 square yards of the apron
- Holly Springs-Marshall County Airport, City of Holly Springs – $87,735 to install a new wind cone
- Okolona Municipal-Richard Stovall Field Airport, City of Okolona – $82,800 to improve airport drainage
- Poplarville-Pearl River County Airport, City of Poplarville – $69,750 to improve the airport access road and improve drainage
- Monroe County Airport, City of Aberdeen – $51,659 to expand the apron
Vicksburg ‘moving into the future’ with Barge Design Solutions implementing airport expansion
On Thursday, Oct. 10, South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour announced what could be an economic game changer for the City of Vicksburg: the expansion of the city’s airport.
The Vicksburg Municipal Airport is located seven miles southwest of the city on U.S. Hwy. 61 and one mile east of the Mississippi River. Today, it serves private and business customers with a 5,000-foot runway, a 2,400 square foot terminal and an aircraft maintenance facility, in addition to providing hangar and storage space.
To accommodate commercial flights, the runway must be extended to 6,500 feet in addition to meeting other Federal Aviation Administration requirements for big jets and consumer air-travel safety. The work of planning and implementing the airport’s expansion now falls to Barge Design Solutions, based in Dothan, Ala.
The project is in its very early stages, and the city is negotiating with Barge regarding contract specifics. Nonetheless, airport expansion has been on the minds of many Vicksburg residents for decades. Alderman Monsour has been one of its biggest advocates since becoming part of the city’s leadership.
“The one thing I always ‘knew’ about Vicksburg … is that we couldn’t expand the runways,” he said. “Well, that was a fallacy. We know it because I talked with FAA and everyone involved.”
In addition to enhancing prospects for business development in the city and Warren County, a nearby commercial airport is convenient for local people and makes the city more attractive to tourists. “We want to make Vicksburg, Mississippi a hub, where you can get commuter flights anywhere you want to go,” Monsour said.
In an interview with the Vicksburg Daily News, Monsour talked about the concept of the city becoming “multi -modal” with the addition of a commercial airport.
“When you have all means of transportation, that is what industries look for. They want to know can they get their product in and out of here whether it be from air, rail, highway, river—we got it all,” with an expanded airport, Monsour said.
The alderman also indicated that although the preliminary estimate for the project is about $8 million, most of the funds could come in the form of FAA and other grants. In the best case scenario, the city’s contribution would be a tiny fraction of that, about $8,000.
“Now why wouldn’t we do that?” Monsour asked. “That’s smart business.”
Monsour and Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. will be on the way to Washington, D.C. soon to ensure the city can secure those grants, he said.
What we know about Barge Design Solutions
The city selected Barge from its response to a Request for Qualifications issued in September. The city’s request stated the type of services required could range from consulting and environmental analysis to planning and straight on through to construction. The city was looking for a company that could take on the project from soup to nuts, in other words, and Barge seems more than capable to fill that bill.
Based on its Statement of Qualifications, Barge has completed similar airport projects in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. About half of its 64 years in business has included aviation engineering and design services.
“Our dedicated and highly skilled aviation group has served municipal airports of all sizes, providing the Vicksburg Municipal Airport with a well-rounded team that understands the local market, airport operations, and the FAA and [Mississippi Department of Transportation],” the company wrote.
Among the qualifications that surely gave Barge a hand up in the selection process is its naming of Vicksburg resident Keafur Grimes as project manager, reporting directly to the City of Vicksburg. Grimes holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Tennessee State University and has completed graduate studies in the subject at Mississippi State University.
For more information on Barge Design Solutions, visit its website.
“Vicksburg is moving into the future now,” Monsour said. “We’re not holding back any more.”
Tim’s barbecue opens on Clay Street
There’s a new barbecue restaurant in Vicksburg.
Tim’s Smokehouse Barbecue (1713 Clay St.) originated with Timothy and Jennifer Sanford’s catering business.
“We dabble with a few different things and see what we like, what our customers like and what tastes good,” said Jennifer Sanford.
Before opening the restaurant, Timothy Sanford had a long history of being a pit boss, which started by watching his father.
“With our food we want people to feel love through our food,” Jennifer said. “We want people to feel love through our service, we want people to feel love through everything that we do. So we really just want to make good food that people like that they can afford.”
Tim’s is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. It’s closed on Monday. Delivery is available by calling 601-885-3791. See the Facebook page for more info.
“Follow the smoke down to Clay Street” Timothy said. “It’s insanely delicious.”
Mississippi AG drops opposition to phone company merger on agreement to expand mobile service in the state
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has dropped his opposition to a major telephone company merger.
In a statement released today, Hood said that Mississippians will have better access to 5G networks thanks to the agreement he reached with T-Mobile.
Hood originally opposed the T-Mobile/Sprint merger as part of multistate litigation filed to prevent it. Before the agreement reached between Mississippi and T-Mobile, the merger did not include any specific commitments benefiting Mississippi. Only 2 percent of Mississippians would have benefited from future 5G services by the stand-alone T-Mobile.
As a result of Hood’s agreement, T-Mobile agreed to the following commitments:
- Within three years of closing on the merger, the new T-Mobile will deploy a 5G network in Mississippi with at least 62 percent of the state’s general and rural populations having access to download speeds equal to or greater than 100 Mbps.
- Within six years of closing, it will cover at least 92 percent of Mississippi’s general population and 88 percent of Mississippi’s rural population.
- These commitments include 5G service in rural areas, including but not limited to Amite, Carroll, Choctaw, Covington, Franklin, Greene, Issaquena, Kemper, Lawrence, Marion, Perry, Smith, Tippah and Walthall counties.
- The parties also made limited price commitments and, in discussions with the Attorney General’s Office, vowed to decrease prices as supply increased, particularly as DISH enters the mobile market.
“The world around us is almost fully digital, but Mississippi is lagging behind with internet deserts across the state” Hood said in the statement. “My agreement with T-Mobile will help fill this gap, and I appreciate their commitments made specifically to Mississippi counties that lacked service. Access to the internet results in better access to education, jobs and health care.”
This 5G technology is expected to drastically decrease latency or buffering, which will be more convenient for consumers and will enable access to valuable technologies in Mississippi, such as telemedicine, in ambulances and hospitals, and automated farming. The 5G internet service will be available to customers in their homes and businesses and beyond with their smart phones, thanks to mobile routers. T-Mobile has also promised to roll out a broadband service that will be available to hundreds of thousands of Mississippians including those in rural areas.
In conversations with the parties, the Attorney General’s Office also confirmed that there would be no retail job loss and that new stores would be opened in rural areas.
A happier ending
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