Malone Road water pipe work

Piping lines a portion of Malone Road in Southaven where 12-inch water lines are being installed. The work is part of a three-phase project aimed at replacing four-inch water lines with 12-inch lines and also installing fire hydrants in the affected areas.

The City of Southaven is continuing the process of improving water lines and fire hydrants, especially in areas that were annexed into the city limits over the past several years.

Shortly after Darren Musselwhite was first elected mayor in 2013, he spoke with former fire chief Roger Thornton and the city Utilities Director. They said that areas annexed when Greg Davis was mayor did not have water lines as large as what served city residents.

“To maximize the potential of our modern fire pumpers, these areas needed fire hydrants and water lines large enough to provide adequate water capacity,” Musselwhite wrote in his Mayor’s Report on the city website. “This became a priority to fulfill our obligation to these new areas of our city and replace all four-inch lines with 12-inch lines.

To address the need, the city is in the middle of a three-phase project to install 12-inch lines in those areas that were serviced by rural fire departments before annexation.

The first phase started under construction in 2017 and last year was completed for areas on Church, Starlanding and Swinnea roads, as well as installing new lines to cross Horn Lake Creek in the northwestern corner of the city.

Late last year, Phase 2 of the project began and is now under construction for areas along Malone Road.

The final phase will change lines in the northwest end near and including Grandview Lake subdivision. That part of the project is expected to be finished next year.

“This entire project was budgeted to cost approximately $7 million and is being funded without debt by surpluses in our Utilities Fund planned exactly for projects like this and other emergency water and sewer infrastructure needs,” Musselwhite wrote.

Southaven is rated as a Class 3 city by the Mississippi State Rating Bureau and expects to become a Class 2 city when Fire Station Number 5 is built next year.

A better fire rating can translate in some cases to lower property insurance premiums.

Musselwhite noted the only Mississippi city boasting a Class 2 fire rating, among 757 fire districts, at this time is Gulfport.

“Public safety is the number one benefit of receiving primary response from an excellent city fire department,” said Musselwhite.

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.