Vicksburg to start new village building in May

By Jef Rietsma

The Vicksburg Village Council at a March meeting cleared the way to start construction of a new municipal building. A unanimous vote authorized the start of the $2.5-million project the week of May 1.

The March 20 vote capped a multi-year effort to ensure the project would be funded without taking out a loan to cover the cost.

“Here we go, fasten your seatbelts … this is an exciting night,” Village Manager Jim Mallery said, as he described details leading to the vote. “This is a journey that started back in the fall of ’16 … (but) formally, our first action on village hall occurred in January 2018, where the council took formal action and assigned $125,000 to the future cost of a village hall.”

Construction is expected to conclude in February 2024.

Mike Frederick, owner of Vicksburg-based Frederick Construction, recapped how the village in January 2022 was presented with three options: purchase new property and build, look for another building to renovate, or consider building new on village-owned property.

Village officials chose the last option and agreed to build on the west side of Richardson Street on a site north of the municipal water tower.

Mallery said the village was strategic about saving for the cost of a new village office. As a result, other services and needs throughout the community will not be neglected. He said the village will continue to maintain a 25 percent unrestricted, unassigned general-fund balance.

Ryan Collins, lead project estimator for Frederick, said a total of 27 bid packages covering various components of the impending construction were created. Collins said 84 bid proposals were received and the village will benefit from quality subcontractors.

“We were extremely happy with that,” he said. “Good bid coverage is very important to support our budget but also shows a really good interest in the village of Vicksburg.”

Collins said he was pleased that more than $350,000 of subcontracted labor will come from three businesses within the 49097 ZIP code.

Furnishings for the new building have not yet been let for bid. Mallery said the expense will be no more than $100,000. In addition, bids have not yet been let for an LED sign that will appear in front of the new village office. Mallery said $75,000 has been budgeted toward the sign.

During the 17 minutes it took Mallery to read the motion, he talked about the village’s current municipal office.

“Demolition of the existing village hall will not occur until after the new village hall building is constructed and is open for business,” he said, adding that DPW staff members will perform as much of the demolition as possible. “However, an additional $75,000 will be budgeted for outsource contractors to assist in the demolition, if needed.”

Mallery said village taxpayers will save between $1.5 million and $2 million over the course of a typical 30-year bond because the project is being paid with cash.

“It took six years. We’ve saved more than enough money, we recognized where our skill set lies and where it does not lie, when we became close to knowing that we needed to get the numbers narrowed in we brought the experience and expertise of Mike Frederick and his staff,” Mallery said.

Village council members celebrated the reality of eventually holding their meetings in their own building. Council member Ryan Wagner shared more of his thoughts.

“I got to see this process start from the conceptual stage to today and it has been really cool to watch,” he said. “The stewardship, the practicality, the diligence that everybody’s put into this process, putting the money aside … this is a lifetime achievement for a lot of folks involved in this project.”

Added Village President Tim Frisbie: “We’ve been planning and planning, and the day is here. Truly, this is an exciting time for this village and I’m apprehensive, I’m nervous, but the last five years we’ve put aside money to build a new village hall.”

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