Corinth businessman seeks drainage solutions

CORINTH – A frustrated Corinth businessman has asked Alcorn County to revive a drainage system that has served the county and city since the early 20th century.
Milton Sandy presented his proposal to the Board of Supervisors at its regular Monday meeting, urging the board to reactivate federally authorized drainage districts from bygone years.
The board will continue discussion of the plan’s possibilities during a 9 a.m. work session Friday in the chancery building board room.
A system of canals – manmade waterways – was put in place, he said, to turn the county, which was mostly swamp land at the time, into livable space.
“We would like to restore and improve those manmade drainage canals,” Sandy said. “It would be a solution to flooding problems at little to no cost to the board of supervisors or to residents.”
Sandy’s lumber business, which lies near Elam Creek, was flooded by about two feet of water on May 2, the sixth time the business has been flooded since 1972. Elam Creek, Bridge Creek and Phillips Creek are the canals Sandy would like to see reworked. The canals still exist, but he said decades without maintenance have made them ineffective.
The original drainage districts were established by state law in 1906, Sandy said. The reactivated organization therefore could qualify for bond financing and likely be eligible for hazard mitigation due to the federal disaster declaration, he continued.
Two issues are possible impediments, county attorney Robert Krohn warned.
If the drainage districts were formally dissolved, there would be no basis to reactivate them. Also, the status of easements from property owners to work on the canals – which Sandy contends are permanent easements – must be established.
Both of these issues require extensive records and legal research, Krohn said.
The city of Corinth is sensitive to the issue as well, said Community Planning and Development Director Dave Huwe. They, too, have tried to address the issue in the past.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal