Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Wednesday morning, the City of Hattiesburg broke ground on its ninth fire station – which will provide the residents and business owners of north Hattiesburg with better response times and better insurance rates.
“Today, we officially break ground on this facility – keeping our commitment to do it and to help the existing residents and businesses of North Hattiesburg,” said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker. “Today also plays a vital role in planning for the future growth of our city and continuing our trajectory toward Chief Stewart’s goal of achieving a Class 3 rating, which would benefit all of Hattiesburg.”
In 2011, the City of Hattiesburg received notice from the State Fire Rating Bureau that it maintained its Class 4 fire rating, but it was given several requirements and changes that needed to occur in order to maintain that status. One of those requirements included the construction of a ninth fire station to service the north Highway 49 area.
Benefits for a new station servicing Northern Hattiesburg include:
- Better insurance rates for businesses
- Decrease response times to under 5 minutes (currently, it averages between 6-12 minutes).
“This is a great day for the Hattiesburg FIre Department, but also for the citizens of Hattiesburg,” said Fire Chief Sherrocko Stewart. “It will help us increase our capacity to serve residents who live in North Hattiesburg and continue our trajectory to a Class 3 rating from the Mississippi State Rating Bureau.”
This project began in 2018 with the announcement of a 3-mill increase for the Fiscal Year 2018 budget – one of which was obligated to pay for Fire Station #9. Since that time, city administrative officials have worked diligently to find a location, create specs that match the needs of the Hattiesburg Fire Department and navigate the design and construction bidding processes.
The total cost for this project is $2.3 million, financed on a 5-year note, with debt service coming from the millage increase passed in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. The estimated completion date for the project is March 2021, dependent on the weather.
“I know that the past two months have been filled with challenges; marred by daily reports of sickness and hospitalization and even death. We are here to show our citizens and to remind ourselves – that even in the seemingly worst of times, in those seasons blanketed with frustration and grief – that the Hattiesburg spirit of going after things, of big things, remains,” said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker. “That spirit will carry us through this tough time, and we will cast our eyes toward that horizon filled with much brighter and healthier days.”