In the heart of DeSoto County, Harvey Lee, affectionately known as “Big Harv,” was a man with big visions and an even bigger heart. As a dedicated representative of District 5 on the Board of Supervisors, he championed the cause of safety and progress.
In 2014, the community lost a great leader when Harvey Lee passed away prematurely. The Board of Supervisors has come together to pay tribute to his legacy by renaming the Coldwater Bridge on Holly Springs Road, an initiative he had fervently supported.
The work Harvey started, continued on with the appointment of his brother, Michael Lee.
“During his time on the board, Harvey worked diligently to secure funding to improve Holly Springs Road,” said Michael Lee. “Although he is not here in person to witness his dream come to fruition. We know he is with us in spirit.”
The Holly Springs Road had been plagued by recurrent flooding, posing a growing threat to public safety. The overflowing Coldwater River often forced the county to close the road for extended periods. A sharp curve in the road added to safety concerns. Supervisors developed a plan to raise the road and bridge 10 feet.
Supervisor Lee Caldwell remarked, “Harvey had a vision. He cared deeply about safety and was determined to make Holly Springs Road safer for everyone in the community. Harvey and I went to Washington D.C. twice to advocate for funding to improve Holly Springs Road and the Coldwater Bridge.” The visits to our nation’s capital paid off when Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker secured $13 million in federal grants for the project.
Holly Springs Road is a vital east-west route in DeSoto County, and it had long been a headache for the community. Jessie Medlin, District 1 Supervisor, recalled the past hardships, stating, “In 1992, the road would flood, and we would post people out here at night, which I thought was dangerous, to make sure nobody would run through the flooding on the road.” The County later installed gates to block access during floods.
Growing up in DeSoto County, Harvey used to swim in the Coldwater River. He even jumped off the bridge. “Harvey used to share stories about jumping off the Coldwater Bridge. But silting over the years made that dangerous,” said Supervisor Mark Gardner. “Harvey would say, ‘all I know is when I was a boy, I could jump in the river and it would take my stomach. Now I can walk through the river.’”
In addition to the $13 million federal DOT BUILD Grant, the project also received $7.5 million from the MDOT Emergency Road and Bridge Fund, with Governor Tate Reeves providing an extra $4 million from the state. This generous funding allowed the completion of the improved Holly Springs Road and Coldwater Bridge late last year.
Board President Ray Denison fittingly noted, “Harvey Lee would’ve turned 63 this month. So it’s fitting that we dedicate this bridge in his honor today.” Harvey’s dream of safety and progress on Holly Springs Road is now a reality, and his legacy shines brightly in DeSoto County.