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Main Street Manager asks Corbin Tourism Commission to double down on 'master plan'

Above, some images of a current alleyway in downtown Corbin and a concept design of what it could look like with improvements to the area.

The Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission is considering a request for $55,000 to match money budgeted by the city of Corbin to help broaden a "master plan" for improvements to Main Street and beyond.

During the commission's regular monthly meeting Monday, Corbin Main Street Manager Andy Salmons provided members of the board provocative, albeit speculative, illustrations of physical improvements that could be made to the town's core business district, as well as to the main thoroughfares leading into the city.

Bike lanes along Cumberland Falls Hwy.

Little used alleys and side streets turned into boutique shops and cafés.

Tasteful landscaping and green space in place of concrete and blight.

Miles of walking and biking trails.

"There's no guarantees," Salmons noted as he presented the ideas to the commission. "It's just some ideas to throw out there to improve our community."

The city has budgeted $55,000 this fiscal year for the crafting of a streetscape plan for Main Street. The plan is typically used in order to secure lucrative grants aimed at implementation of the proposed changes. Corbin joined the Renaissance on Main program in 2008 in hopes of reinvigorating its downtown area, but since that time no plan has been produced.

Salmons signaled clearly he means to change that, and asked Tourism board members to match the city's stake with an additional $55,000 in order to make a plan that would extend out past the town's core area down Cumberland Falls Hwy. and Master Street.

Salmons said they city plans to solicit bids in the near future for architectural and engineering firms to create the plan for the city. He said implementation would then be a "multi-year, multi-phase" project that could last a decade or more.

"I just feel like this is a logical extension of what we are doing," Salmons told the board, in an effort to convince them to pledge the funds.

"I think we need to do these things to bring our community into the future."

Salmons and Corbin City Manager Marlon Sams said they both envision turning Corbin into a more outdoor, recreation-friendly community with plenty of trails and areas for biking and walking or running. Both said they hoped Corbin would be recognized as a designated "Trail Town" by the state - part of a new program aimed to encourage Kentucky communities to build more trails suited to outdoor exercise.

Currently, the city has a plan in the works to create a one-mile path for such use along Bacon Creek. Sams said it could easily be extended in the future.

The commission took the funding request under advisement.

In other business, the commission:

• Approved $3,500 for fall decorations downtown, and $2,500 to help fund Octoberfest.

• Heard a financial report from board accountant Kyle Perkins.

Perkins said the commission was currently being audited for the past fiscal year, and that the results of the audit should be available by next month's meeting.

For the first quarter of the most current fiscal year, receipts from the city's restaurant tax were more than expected at $266,497.

Perkins also noted that three motels were currently delinquent on payments of the town's transient tax. Landmark Inn has not paid since the second quarter of 2011. Mountain View Lodge has not paid since the fourth quarter of 2011. Best Western hasn't paid for the first quarter of 2012.

Commission member Alan Onkst made a motion to inform the city's Board of Commissioners of the delinquencies and to ask that legal action be taken against Landmark Inn and Mountain View Lodge. The measure passed unanimously.

• Agreed to takeover maintenance of Sanders Park.

• Agreed to maintain decorative planters at the Corbin Public Library.


Johhny Unitas (September 12, 2012) Reply

Sounds like a good plan, but if you really want to get people off the sofa and do something, why not build an indoor pool for the rec center. A lot of citys have indoor pools and other types of activities for people to use all year. Keep the outdoor pool but add on to the current rec center and upgrade the facility an indoor aquatics center would be great for everyone.

barney (September 12, 2012) Reply

i can see where spending money on old warehouse's in an alley that belongs to someone else would improve corbin.we could just give johnny wheel's the money. or the city could make them clean up there junked up buildings. that way it would not cost corbin people.oh that would be a new concept for you to think of, and not waste tax payers money

Sheila (September 13, 2012) Reply

Why should you be worried about an alley, do something with all the store's closing, make the street two lanes, there's nothing downtown to draw people. Why do you need to pay someone big money to tell you what's wrong with Corbin there's no jobs here.

Ron Tarter (September 14, 2012) Reply

I'm a retired city planner who's now teaching at EKU-Corbin. To attract jobs, which everyone agrees is needed for Corbin, upgrading and beautification of the physical environment is necessary. Start with beautification of Main Street, most notably by adding small plants and shrubs that provide a common visual theme and enhance visual continuity. Pay attention also to sidewalk improvement and beautification and ways of improving pedestrian movement. Then recruit two or three new businesses and add new parking facilities as they get up and running. When the effort clearly gets rolling, a detailed program of widening sidewalks and planting small trees such as Ambassador Pears would probably bear additional positive results (off-street parking could replace on-street parking on Main Street). First, however, get new businesses up and running, and more basic improvements effected. Make as big a splash as you can with the first, relatively low cost efforts, and then as your effort begins to bear fruit, make the effort increasingly comprehensive. Results need to be visible as well as improvements, and the two need to go hand-in-hand.

Tammy (September 16, 2012) Reply

There is nothing downtown to attract families anymore. When I was growing up, I loved going to Newberry's, Bondaraunt;s and Morgan's 5&10. There was candy,toys and soda fountains. I know those type of stores have given way to Walmart and Kmart but maybe going backwards a little is just what we need to go forward.

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