Downtown Corbin may soon be an entertainment destination, at least during events such as NIBROC, Moonbow Nights, Moonbow Eggfest and the Cumberland Valley Cruise-In car show.
At a special commission meeting Friday morning, the commissioners discussed an ordinance that would establish the downtown area from Fourth Street north to Roy Kidd Ave. between Depot Street and Kentucky Ave. as an entertainment destination area.
If the ordinance were to be passed, the city would apply to the Kentucky Department of Alcohol Beverage Control for a license to sell alcoholic beverages within the common areas, and to allow individuals to consume alcohol in the common areas.
Commissioner Brandon Shepherd proposed the ordinance.
Shepherd co-owns Shep’s Place on Main Street.
Shepherd explained that other communities, such as Maysville and Owensboro, have previously enacted such ordinances.
Maysville officials said their ordinance was passed in January 2018, and the license was issued in October.
Unlike what is proposed in Corbin, Maysville’s entertainment district is continuous, operating what Maysville Alcoholic Beverage Control Administrator Lisa Dunbar described as, “24/7.”
“Whenever it is legal for vendors to sell, they can go get a drink and go wherever,” Dunbar said of customers.
Dunbar said despite the open layout of the downtown entertainment district, there have not been any significant problems.
“If we had any problems, we could always pull it back,” Dunbar said of the ordinance.
The Corbin ordinance would require event sponsors to sell wristbands, which would readily identify them as legally able to consume alcohol.
The proceeds from the sale of the wristbands would go back to the sponsor.
“If we want to keep becoming a destination, we have to have an outdoor scene,” Shepherd said. “This is how we grow the area.”
Under the current ordinance, event sponsors, such as the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce at NIBROC, may secure a temporary alcohol license.
The chamber has secured such a license to sell beer at NIBROC, setting up a beer garden at Sanders Park.
The beer must be consumed within Sanders Park and minors may not be within the area.
Corbin Alcohol Beverage Control Officer Clara Patterson told the commission that the license may also permit the sale of hard liquor. However, the same limitations concerning the area and minors would remain in place.
“If you don’t have food sales, you are only allowed persons 21 and older,” Patterson said.
Commissioner Trent Knuckles and Mayor Suzie Razmus asked that the ordinance be tabled to give time for additional public input.
We are on great upward trajectory with a brand new, hopping downtown,” Razmus said noting the increase traffic has created new concerns about pedestrian safety and traffic safety.
“All this does is make me more concerned,” she said.
“You know I am a tourist person. In order for the downtown business to thrive, you have to have your day-to-day people,” Razmus added. “They may not like the direction this ordinance would take the downtown.”
Shepherd said his goal was not to rush the ordinance through, but to begin the conversation.
“Let’s table this, so we can go back to the drawing board and come up with something workable,” Knuckles said.