- Associated Press - Friday, January 31, 2014

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. is having a committee look into expanding parking in downtown for disabled residents and visitors.

Flaggs said Vicksburg’s downtown district is attracting more residents and visitors, and some of them are upset over the apparent lack of disabled parking spaces.

“We’re going to get all the city buildings in compliance (with the American With Disabilities Act) and then look at downtown,” Flaggs told the Vicksburg Post.

Flaggs has appointed a committee of Police Chief Walter Armstrong, Fire Chief Charles Atkins and safety director Joseph Boler to examine the problems and bring their recommendations the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. No deadline was given.

City ordinances authorize the police chief to designate disabled parking areas and require city buildings to have one disabled parking space and at least “one additional space for every 100 parking spaces available” for those not physically disabled.

The parking spaces must be within 200 feet “of an easily accessible entrance to the facility.”

While many of the city’s curbs have been beveled, or sloped, to accept wheelchairs and there are several disabled parking spaces downtown, Flaggs wants to see more.

“I want to try for two spaces for each block,” he said.

Armstrong said he wants to look at downtown and see how the parking spaces are set.

“We need to look and see if all the (disabled) spots are on one side of the street, and how we can do it better,” he said.

One challenge, Atkins said, is the Vicksburg Convention Center, adding its disabled spaces on the building’s south end and in the center’s parking lot may be too far for disabled patrons to go to attend a program at the facility.

“We’ll have to look into that,” he said.

Another challenge is the Vicksburg Auditorium.

Currently, Armstrong said, the building’s disabled parking spaces are along its sides, because that is where the available access to the building is.

City officials are already making plans to improve the front of the building, including adding ramps.

Armstrong said he wants to put the extra disabled parking spaces along the front of the auditorium after the renovations.

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Information from: The Vicksburg Post, https://www.vicksburgpost.com

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