By Lena Mitchell
Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
CORINTH – A group of more than 20 members and supporters of the Easom Outreach Foundation attended last week’s city board meeting to urge the board to award a deed to the South Corinth school property to the nonprofit, keeping the entire property intact.
Mayor Tommy Irwin said a three-member committee continues to work on issues associated with disposition of the property and no vote would be taken at the meeting.
South Corinth was one of three schools vacated by the Corinth School District in late 2010 after a new Corinth Elementary School was built that allowed students from the three campuses to be consolidated at Corinth Elementary School and Corinth Middle School.
The campus previously was Easom High School which educated black students before integration.
Two speakers – Meigg Street Church of Christ Pastor Will Luster and day care owner Jennifer McCoy – spoke passionately about the historical significance of the former Easom High School and the community’s negative reaction should the historical importance of the property not be honored as other historic properties throughout Corinth are.
A proposal has been discussed by the Board of Aldermen to subdivide the South Corinth property and allow the Easom Outreach Foundation to lease only the central building where community programs currently are offered, while selling off other portions of the property, likely to commercial interests.
The Corinth school board learned late last year that they would not be able to dispose of the former campuses of East, West and South Corinth Elementary schools because the properties were given to the district for use as schools. A clause in the titles to each property said it would “revert” to city ownership when the school district no longer used it as a school.
During more than two years of discussions with the school district the foundation board understood it would receive title to the property – also with a reverter clause – if it met conditions set by the school district and was able to manage expenses of maintaining the property.
Luster and McCoy touched on the investment the foundation already has made in the property, and also noted that subdividing the property would severely limit future expansion of nonprofit programs.
Longtime physician Dr. Thomas Sweat, who is retired, also attended the meeting to confirm that he wishes to open a free clinic in the building, and pursuing those plans awaits the decision of the board.