The city of Corbin will have three months to fill is vacant Main Street Manager position or it could risk losing its "certified" status with the Kentucky Heritage Council – possibly putting in peril valuable grants and other state and federal aid.
Effective Friday, current Corbin Main Street Manager Sharae Myers will be gone and city officials say this week that they plan to act with appropriate haste to find a director and keep the program on track.
"It would be nice to have somebody come in here and take the job that has some experience," Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney said Tuesday. "There’s people out there who are gifted in this and that really have a feel for how to implement a Main Street Program. They know how to put together a plan and carry it through and that is what we need."
According to Kentucky Main Street/Renaissance on Main guidelines, set by the Kentucky Heritage Council, cities with certified Main Street Programs must hire a new Main Street Manager, in the event of a vacancy, within three months to ensure their status remains in effect. If the process takes longer than that, cities may be able to get an extension to six months if they provide documentation showing such a delay is necessary.
"Certified" status with the Kentucky Main Street/Renaissance on Main program is important because it makes the city eligible for the most lucrative grants opportunities.
When Myers was originally hired in 2007, a committee of local government and private leaders was assembled to screen candidates and do the hiring. At that time, the Main Street Program was under the Corbin Economic Development Agency. Now, it is a department of the city of Corbin.
McBurney said like any city job, the position will be publicly advertised and candidates are welcome to apply. The city’s Personnel Board will make a recommendation to the town’s five-member Board of Commissioners on who should be hired.
McBurney said many cities couple their Main Street Programs with economic development and tourism – an idea that could gain some traction here in Corbin, though it has not been officially discussed.
"That’s something to look at," McBurney said. "Right now, after Sharae leaves, we need to sit down as a commission and talk about which way we want to go with it."
Cities interested in having Main Street Programs start out in "Candidate" status and can remain that way for 24 months. Cities are designated, as candidate programs if they have changes in local administration, like vacancies in the Main Street Manager position. McBurney said he did not want to see Corbin slip back into that position.
Once hired, a new Main Street Manager has to undergo a certification process that can take about 18 months to complete. Someone with experience may already have the proper certifications.
McBurney said it is important for whoever is hired to focus on crafting a design plan for Corbin’s Main Street – a move most Main Street programs complete in the first year or so of existence. Four years in, Corbin still has no such plan.
"We’ve talked about it before, I think it imperative to have a plan and go from there. You have to know what you want to do with your Main Street," McBurney said. "I feel like that is the most important thing. We need a plan."