City looking to improve park by removing old Wurlitzer facility

CORINTH — The city of Corinth, according to The Daily Corinthian, is planning to revitalize a prime spot in the industrial park with hope of bringing new jobs to the city.

The city-owned Wurlitzer property is the focus of the plan, which would include removal of the industrial building. Officials believe removing the dilapidated industrial building will improve the marketability of the site.

“The Wurlitzer property is probably some of the best industrial property that I have seen in Corinth,” said Mayor Tommy Irwin.

About six months ago, he met with FCA, which occupied the Wurlitzer building, to discuss the possibility of FCA moving to the Gateway building. A manufacturer of wooden containers with Caterpillar as its largest customer, FCA agreed to make the move.

The building formerly occupied by the Gateway Corporation “was a great facility that was not being used,” said Irwin, “and it’s been a great match for the owners of Gateway, us and FCA.”

He said the cleaned up Wurlitzer site will serve as “skin in the game” to help the city attract industry.

Environmental assessments of the property will be forthcoming, and the building would then be torn down. The city is looking at a brownfield grant to assist with the environmental process, but Irwin said the city can handle the other costs.

Alliance President Gary Chandler believes the plan will be good for marketing the site.

“The building as it stands now, in my opinion, is not very marketable,” he said. “The mayor’s plan to tear the building down and market it as a site is the way we need to go.”

With environmental studies involved, he noted it will not be an overnight process.

Irwin estimated 700 to 800 worked at Wurlitzer during its peak. Known for organs, electronic pianos and jukeboxes, the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company entered an agreement with Corinth in 1955 to come to the city. The agreement entailed a bond issue and the city improving the land and constructing a factory building of about 100,000 square feet.

The Gateway property has been an industrial site since 1950.

“I’m delighted that a great woodworking business with the great reputation that FCA has is able to continue using the property for its intended use,” said building owner Clayton Stanley.

Alcorn County Board of Supervisors President Lowell Hinton said the county supports the city’s effort to redevelop the property.

Alderman Andrew Labas said the city has begun taking applications and qualifying statements from engineers for the environmental assessment.

“I feel like it’s a great industrial site. However, the current condition is not really marketable,” he said.

Alderman Mike Hopkins said he also supports the plan.

“I do think that when we get it ready it will be an asset for recruiting new industry,” he said.

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