By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
PICKWICK, Tenn. – Corinth and Alcorn County officials participated Friday in a long-range planning retreat to identify some priorities and projects to be addressed immediately and in the future.
With elected city and county leaders looking to what they can accomplish during the remainder of their respective terms of office, they identified some projects they expect to accomplish within the next 12 months and others they think are doable within the next three years.
Leading the process was Dr. Joe Fratesi of the Mississippi State University’s Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development. The idea for the session came out of the Long-Term Planning Task Force of the Commission on the Future of Alcorn County, which is chaired by former alderman Joe Vann.
“There’s a difference between a comprehensive plan and a strategic plan,” Fratesi said, with the comprehensive plan being defined in state law and including specific elements. “A strategic plan is more focused and shorter in range.”
Fratesi asked the 16 participants to divide into three groups and conducted an abbreviated SWOT exercise – asking each group to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for Corinth.
Commonly mentioned among the weaknesses and threats were:
• Blight and litter along U.S. Highway 72, particularly from Highway 145/Tate Street to Highway 45.
• Lack of funding for important improvements like infrastructure.
• Lack of concern and/or participation by a large number of people in the community.
Bright spots, however, that officials highlighted include:
• High-quality school districts in Corinth and Alcorn County.
• A first-class hospital in Magnolia Regional Health Center.
• Great economic development capacity with properties, available water and sewer expansion.
The short-term goals leaders will work on include:
• The Crossroads Arena becoming self-sustaining.
• First phase of Crossroads Regional Park renovations being started.
• Acquire a grant from the federal Economic Development Administration to complete the Hickory Road drainage project.
• Identify new funding sources for street paving and other important infrastructure projects.