Pontotoc County is continuing to move forward to secure a water tank at the Pontotoc County Industrial park where American Furniture is located to aid in fighting industrial fires.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has recently awarded the county a $620,970 grant to make the improvements. 

This grant will be matched with $320,970 in local investments and $300,000 in other federal funds; which are still in the pipeline so to speak so the project won’t begin until these other monies are in place.

John Byers, Community and Economic Development Director for Three Rivers said that the project will cost some $1 million.

“Helping our communities implement their plans to provide the infrastructure that business needs to be successful is a top priority for President Trump,” said Dana Gartzke, who is the person who is preforming the delegated duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This EDA investment will finance necessary improvements to water system infrastructure to serve the Pontotoc County manufacturing industry, including two major furniture manufacturers and accommodate future growth.”

The project will support the construction of a 300,000-gallon elevated water storage tank, as well as the installation of 11 fire hydrants and 9,700 linear feet of water main. These improvements will increase the resiliency of businesses in Pontotoc County Industrial Park.

Pontotoc County Fire Coordinator Adam Patton said he is looking forward to having the extra fire protection at the industrial park.

“It will absolutely help us to have water. It will save time and man power and we will have more water right there,” Patton said.

The nearest place that the departments were able to get water was some two or so miles down Highway 15 when the American Furniture plant burned. They had to run and pump the water into tanker trucks and then carry it back and dump it in portable fire fighting canvas basins. After that, the water was pumped into pumper trucks and out to the fire.

“It is going to make it a lot safer for us because we won’t have to transport it. We will be able to keep more people on the scene fighting the fire rather than having to use several of the guys running for water back and forth.”

Patton said the standing tower can’t get here fast enough. “It will definitely be a blessing to have it on site.”

After all the funding is in place, the next phase will be the bidding process and then construction will begin.  

“Realistically, if all goes well, we are looking at at least nine to twelve months before you see a tower standing,” Byars noted.  The fire protection component is enough to want a tower in place. “I’m glad they are doing this. It is a bad spot to be in when you don’t have enough water in the event of a fire,” he said.

Water for this tank will be supplied by the Mud Creek Water Association. This project is expected to create 50 jobs retain 991 jobs and generate nearly $3.7 million in private investment.

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