By Jef Rietsma
The Vicksburg Village Council has approved pursuing a property purchase to expand the community’s industrial space.
At an early-November meeting, the council returned from a 38-minute closed session and voted to pursue purchase of a 10-acre parcel connected to a property already owned by the village. The letter of intent to purchase shows the price is $77,000. Village Manager Jim Mallery said the location is an area behind Vicksburg Auto Body, which is at 522 Spruce Street in the northeast quadrant of the village.
“It is staff’s belief that the data will show (the prospective land acquisition) provides an incredible opportunity for this village, both in growth and to align with our mission, to have the least impact – whether it be on taxes or utilities – to our residents,” Mallery said.
He said the prospective land purchase is consistent with the village’s master plan. Mallery said the opportunity is a big deal, explaining he fields calls from potential developers on a monthly basis, which confirms there is consistent interest in Vicksburg from the outside.
The council was expected to close the deal at its Dec. 6 meeting.
Mallery said the purchase would give the village the luxury of an additional industrial park.
“We’ll start to work different ideas. There’s nothing that’s going to happen in the next month or six months that I’m aware of, but for the price that was offered … I think it’s an incredible investment opportunity for the village,” Mallery said, noting the proposed purchase would be supported from the village’s general fund. “When you take everything into account, the direction of the village and what we’re accomplishing, this is an incredible opportunity that staff fully recommends.”
Mallery said the property will be surveyed to define its boundaries.
Council member Rick Holmes said the property acquisition and likely future development will help ease a financial burden that would otherwise fall on Vicksburg’s residents.
“Folks, we were only able to raise a third of the funds necessary for the critical infrastructure repair,” Holmes said. “So, here’s the reality. We needed to start turning cornfields over and put more houses in them because we need to build the base up in order to spread out the expense of updating the infrastructure, or we need to bring businesses in here.
“Either that or what we do is keep limping along and fill in potholes as we go along,” he added. “There’s got to be a balance here. We all have greater needs, including this community, so that’s why I applaud things like this because what we’re trying to do is … find meaningful ways we can increase our tax base, we can bring business and industry in, and then hopefully by doing that, we’re not changing what makes us special and unique.”
Council members said they understand the value of having industrial-zoned property ready for development. The motion to accept the purchase agreement was approved unanimously.