It’s pretty common that I will hear someone say they feel our area is stagnant. There is no growth or new jobs. Nothing ever changes. There is nothing to do. We are stuck in the mud.
There have been a lot of significant developments, physical improvements, and economic progress in the 21 years I’ve lived here. Perhaps it’s just my profession. I’ve covered, in great detail, many of the things that have happened over the years, so they are etched in my memory, I suppose.
I just think about Corbin, and the immediate surrounding area, 21 years ago. The Corbin Bypass didn’t exist yet. The overpass hadn’t been built.
There was no Wal-Mart Supercenter or super Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores. Just smaller versions that would be inadequate by today’s standards.
There was no really nice movie theater like we have now with Tri-County Cineplex. Matter of fact, so much of what you see on that side of Cumberland Falls Hwy. didn’t even exist at that time. No arena. No Corbin Center. No Applebees. We didn’t have restaurants that served alcohol and no packaged liquor could be sold.
Our largest local industrial park didn’t even exist yet. Now, it’s filling up with companies — CTA Acoustics (with more employees now than ever), Breaktime Vending, and two international companies; KOWA and Smart Wood.
The “green card” facility didn’t exist.
A quarter horse racetrack wasn’t even a thought. Now, it’s on the cusp of becoming a reality.
Downtown Corbin was like a ghost town after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and on weekends. Now, it is vibrant and busy almost every night.
There was no Corbin Creekwalk. No Sanders Park. No nice gazebo or parking area by the Engineer Street Bridge.
Matter of fact, the Engineer Street Bridge was condemned as unsafe and chain link fencing prevented anyone from using it. It was an eyesore. Now, it’s a treasure.
There is often talk about the need for stricter code enforcement, particular on dilapidated and unkempt properties in town. That is a very valid argument. But, it must be noted that over 200 out-of-compliance structures in Corbin have been demolished or removed since 2004 due to code enforcement efforts. Tens of thousands of dollars of fines have been levied against folks for not taking care of their property. Much needs to be done, but it’s unfair to say there has been no improvement.
The civic center grounds are now home to youth football and soccer fields.
New city hall hadn’t been constructed yet.
There was no Ossie Burch Fieldhouse. We have a new Social Security office, and the old one was renovated and now houses the Corbin Preschool Center, which is excellent.
The Corbin school system has, essentially, TWO new schools — Corbin Primary School and a completely renovated Corbin High School. Construction of a new Corbin Middle School is slated to be complete this year.
The Corbin track complex was out of compliance with current standards and could not host meets. It’s been upgraded and now it can.
There was no softball or on-campus tennis complex at Corbin High School. There is now.
The school system soccer teams have a VERY NICE field dedicated to their sport.
Corbin East School, once slated to be demolished, was renovated and is now a very desirable apartment complex.
I could go on, but I don’t have the space.
A lot has happened in 20 years. I plan to be here for at least 20 more. If the next 20 years is anything like the last, the future should be exciting indeed.