City of M’hall closer to adding water tank

By MARLAN JONES,

The City of Mendenhall and Simpson County Economic Development District are one step closer to finalizing their deal that will result in an additional water tank located on Hwy. 43 to serve the city.

 Mayor Todd Booth met with the Simpson County Economic Development District in February and explained that the tank would put the city in position for future growth because the lift station leads back to a lagoon owned by the city. He said taking ownership of the tank would increase the city’s storage capabilities.

The property that the water tank rests on was purchased by the Simpson County Economic Development District nearly 15 years ago to develop into an industrial park that never materialized.

The District received a grant to extend water and sewer access to the property, which was viewed by a number of potential developers at one time, but ultimately nothing ever came of it, possibly because of its ingress and egress points to the proposed park, which are not located near a four lane highway.

The property has not been viewed by developers for some time. Booth and city officials have continued the effort to take possession of the water tank, which they estimated would impact nearly one- third of the residents of Mendenhall.  Booth said that customers on South Main Street and neighboring areas would benefit from increased water pressure and that the additional tank would also improve the sewer system.

Mendenhall has had ongoing issues with its water system, and Booth said the city is sitting on ''a time bomb” not knowing when the current well will go out.

The increased water source provided by the tank would also assist the Mendenhall Fire Department in maintaining the current fire rating, which improved last year. Booth emphasized that acquiring the tank gives the city a possibility for growth.

On February 5 the Mendenhall Mayor and Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a resolution to accept ownership of the water tank if approved by other involved parties. The Simpson County Economic Development District called a meeting on February 8 to discuss transferring the water tank and related system at Mendenhall Commerce Park to the City of Mendenhall.

Booth said he had spoken with representatives of the Boggan Ridge Water Association, where the tank in question is located, and that they were in favor of allowing the city to acquire the tank. Booth explained that this would not affect any of Boggan Ridge’s customers.

At the conclusion of discussion, the trustees present unanimously approved the resolution.

Booth said the plan is to have the water tank operational within 90 days of taking control of the property.

The issue still had to be presented before the Board of Supervisors in late February. The supervisors approved the transfer of the property to further the process. Booth explained that city then needed the state senator and representative to present local and private legislation to allow the deal to happen, because currently there are no existing laws that allow this transfer to happen.

Booth announced during the April meeting of the Mendenhall Mayor and Board of Aldermen that the city has received signed legislation allowing the transfer of the water tank. The process is not yet complete. Booth explained that the next step involves the water tower and easement leading to the property to be surveyed. He revealed that earlier engineer studies showed the water tank tying into Mendenhall’s system on Highway 13 across Bowen Road.

Once everything is in place the city will have a company check the condition of the water tower and get a cost estimate to get the tower operational.

Booth said, “This will help about 250 of our customers with water pressure and give us another well. It will be a big upgrade to our system.”