Corinth board to respond to historic building demolition

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

CORINTH – The Corinth city board is expected today to take action after the unauthorized destruction of a historic building in downtown Corinth.
The board met in closed session on Thursday, but delayed a vote until they could consult further with Mississippi Department of Archives and History representative and historic preservation coordinator Michelle Jones.
The 1920s-era gas station building at Fillmore and Foote streets, which until recently housed the Downtown Carwash, was bulldozed late in the day on May 23, soon after building inspector Greg Tyson had left the work site with the understanding that all work on the building was done for the day.
CTS General Construction Services of Memphis had been working on necessary asbestos removal before the structure could be properly reinforced and saved.
Tyson said he later was told by Pete Kromberger of CTS, who was supervising the work, that as they removed a final piece of flashing around the roofline, the building began to crumble and had to be taken down.
The city board must now decide what, if any, penalty to impose on building owner John Dodd. Workers had begun demolition of the building on April 13, without a proper permit. The destruction was halted when discovered by a city worker, and the city prohibited further demolition.
The building is in the downtown historic district and requires a permit from the Corinth Preservation Commission, of which Dodd was once a member, before renovation or demolition work could be done.
As a Certified Local Government, Corinth stands to lose tax credits it offers for properly completed preservation work in the historic district.
The work supervisor had no authority to make a unilateral decision to demolish the building, said attorney Bill Davis, who is representing the city in the matter.
“This total demolition was not part of the agreement with the city concerning the asbestos abatement,” Davis said. “There was ample time for him to call a city official, call me or review the situation with someone before taking such a drastic step.”
lena.mitchell@journalinc.com