It’s time for the “downtown fix.”
The City of Corinth is getting ready to launch a major infrastructure rehabilitation for the heart of the city, where the pipes underground are older than anywhere across Corinth. Funding through the American Rescue Plan Act is making the project possible.
A complete assessment of everything under the streets will precede the work.
“This is the rebuild of Corinth – the downtown area – and it’s pretty exciting,” said Mayor Tommy Irwin.
On Tuesday, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen passed a resolution designating the project area as between Cass Street and Jackson Street and between Cruise Street and Childs Street.
Irwin said it has been a goal since coming into office, but funding kept it out of reach. About eight years ago, the infrastructure assessment would have carried a price tag of about $350,000.
“We just didn’t have the money to get into the assessment, much less anything else,” the mayor said.
One of the visible problem areas has been Waldron Street in front of the courthouse, where road base failures are a continual challenge. But many of the issues that need addressing are underground and under city streets, out of sight.
“We live in an old city – a very old city,” said Irwin. “In a lot of cases, I doubt that we, and I doubt that even Corinth Gas & Water, knows what exactly is under this dinosaur.”
The assessment will make all of that clear and provide a picture of what needs fixing.
“We’re going to take appropriate actions to make sure that we have knowledge of everything that’s underground before we start digging,” said Irwin. “We’re going to do storm drains, curbs and gutters, milling where milling is needed and asphalt paving. I’m thinking it will take three to four terms to finish it. We’re going to be very cautious, very careful. We’re going to know what we’re doing, where we’re going and what’s there.”
The work will likely begin with Childs Street, to start with an “easier” fix, and then move to the court square area.
Public Works Director Clayton Mills is excited to see an opportunity to get the often-discussed work off the ground.
“It is something that is strong on our heart to get going,” he said. “That funding became available, and the timing could not be any more perfect than it is now. It’s a challenge, but that’s what we’re here for.”
The city is receiving about $3.6 million in ARPA funding, and the project will need to reach the bid phase within three years.
Irwin believes the project will help keep the city on a growth trajectory.
“If you look at the investments we’ve had over the years, they have increased our ability financially to fix things like roads and streets all over the city,” he said. “The investment starting with Cracker Barrel, which was a national brand that set off a chain reaction, has led to increased sales tax. we’ve had historical numbers.”