Concerns about paving priorities in Corinth brought a number of residents to City Hall Tuesday evening for the meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Ward 1 Alderman Chris Wilson has been publicly critical of the recent paving of the city-owned parking lot at the corner of North Cass Street and Cruise Street. Located in front of Pizza Grocery, the lot is also used by customers of nearby businesses such as Sanctuary and by patrons of the Coliseum Civic Center during events.

Wilson brought the issue up after the board worked through the regular meeting agenda.

“It’s in my ward, and I didn’t have any idea it was going to be getting paved,” he said of the parking lot. “I’d like a heads-up anytime paving is going to take place in my ward.”

Wilson believes the need for street paving outweighs the need for parking lot paving.

“My phone is still blowing up with people upset about a parking lot getting paved over roads,” he said.

Mayor Tommy Irwin said the paving of the parking lot is part of ongoing efforts to spur investment in the city.

“The key to getting investment is getting the city to look good,” he said, and later added: “I don’t make any apologies for making things better.”

He rejected the notion that the paving was done specifically for the restaurant.

“I had no conversation,” said Irwin. “We didn’t do that for him. That is a public parking place down there just like behind City Hall is a public parking space.”

The funding for that paving will likely come from the use tax, which generates about $1.2 million annually for the city, he said.

Wilson recently had a conversation with the city attorney about the authority of the mayor and aldermen as it relates to street paving, and he is interested in seeing some changes.

“When budget time comes up, I’m going to be making a motion that each alderman specifies their roads the money is to be spent on,” he said.

Input from the audience was brief, with the city attorney shutting down a heated exchange.

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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