Vicksburg’s proposed Corps museum gets land

Published 11:59 pm Saturday, April 7, 2007

Vicksburg officials are giving the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land for an interpretive museum that has been in the works for more than a decade.

Congress allotted $2 million for planning purposes in 1992 and later appropriated more money, but the project stalled over the years.

Mayor Laurence Leyens and the board of mayor and aldermen voted Thursday to donate a parcel of land about the size of a city block. The city had purchased the land for $692,000. It will be given to the Corps as part of a matching grant for funding the project, Leyens said.

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Moving the MV Mississippi, which served as the Corps’ flagship for 30 years, to the site along Jackson Street will be the first step in the project. The historic 218-foot towboat was built in 1961. It will be a centerpiece of the museum. The vessel has been docked in a canal since the city purchased it from the Corps for $1 in 1995.

Work to tow, lift and restore the vessel is set to begin this month, Leyens said. Plans are to build a cradle, tow it to New Orleans, lift it onto a barge and float it down the river and back to Vicksburg, where it will be pushed up a ramp and onto land.

The completed museum will depict the history of the Corps, the branch of the U.S. Army assigned to civil works, including flood control and navigation on the Mississippi River. Tours of the MV Mississippi will also be available.`