Unapproved demolition reveals asbestos problem in Corinth

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

CORINTH – Demolition of a building in the Downtown Corinth Historic District that began last month was halted after it was found the owner did not have required permits.
The city ordered the owner of the building at Fillmore and Foote streets, Dr. John Dodd, to shore up the building until he could obtain a determination from the Historic Preservation Commission on whether the building could be removed.
Now the discovery of asbestos throughout the structure has further delayed any action at the site until asbestos abatement efforts could be completed.
As of Tuesday a Memphis contractor, Kevin McCarthy of CTS General Construction Services, has been engaged for the asbestos work, said Dodd attorney Nicholas Bain.
“It will be at least 10 days before any work can begin because of the permit process with (Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality),” Bain said. “They’ve given us a plan that has to be approved.”
The city’s status as a certified local government with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the U.S. Department of the Interior could be jeopardized if work on historic structures in the designated downtown areas is not properly approved by the city Historic Preservation Commission, which this project was not.
Dodd recently completed extensive renovation of a neighboring historic structure for new offices which was the first site of First Baptist Church and also was a print shop. He had thought to create a greenspace at the Fillmore and Foote street site.
Earlier this year an MDAH representative determined that the circa-1923 former gas station building, most recently used as a car wash, retained sufficient elements of the original structure that it should be preserved.
At the May 7 city board meeting the board voted to penalize Dodd for the unauthorized demolition by asking the municipal court to impose a one-day fine for violating the city preservation ordinance and demolition without a permit.
lena.mitchell@journalinc.com