I think one of the most significant things about next Tuesday’s General Election, at least for those of us who live in Corbin, will be who’s NOT on the ballot for the first time in over a decade.
When the votes are counted, the clock will begin counting down on the final days in office for Willard McBurney; who holds the distinction of being the longest serving mayor in the history of Corbin.
I think there’s a reason for that.
When I first interviewed McBurney in 2006 (then just a candidate), one of his primary goals was to beautify our town. Without question, he’s delivered.
The Engineer Street Bridge was, at one time, a condemned eyesore … rotting away. It was surrounded by chain link fencing and signs warning people to stay away. Now, people get married on it! Instead of removing, or continuing to neglect the bridge, McBurney was insistent it could be an asset.
The creekwalk, built during the previous administration, was an amazing project. McBurney spearheaded an effort to place a gazebo there and a nice parking area.
You know the trees that line the entrance to our downtown area from Master Street? That’s Mayor McBurney’s doing.
And speaking of downtown, how much has that improved over the last 12 years? Hint: A LOT!
You need look no further than his own meticulously restored home on Poplar Ave. — itself a sort of tourist attraction — to see that making our town more attractive has been his priority.
As a member of the Corbin Housing Authority Board of Directors, he helped oversee the renovation East Ward School into McBurney Manor apartment complex … a very desirable place to live.
He’s the latest in a line of forward-thinking mayors, and other city leaders, who went into office with one goal — to make Corbin a better place for everyone. Naturally, it takes more than one man to get things done. Commissions and city workers who were a part of that effort deserve praise as well.
I’ve had this weird distinction, the last two years, to not only work at this newspaper, but also to be a city commissioner and serve alongside Mayor McBurney in city government. We didn’t ALWAYS agree on everything, but I never once doubted that he ALWAYS had the best interest of our city at heart.
I think politics is so toxic and nasty these days. Too many bombastic personalities and self-serving people. Mayor McBurney was never like that. He’s got wisdom, excellent people skills, a good temperament, and his heart is in the right place. I’ve seen it first hand. I know it to be true.
Thank you, Mayor McBurney, for all of your hard work these last 12 years. Enjoy your swan song from now until January. You’ve earned it.
You’ve been a true community servant for Corbin.