Five months after the Corbin Tourism Commission put the proposed Corbin Railroad Museum project on hold because of financial constraints, it remains on the back burner.
At the regularly monthly commission meeting last week, the commissioners agreed to hold $100,000 in a bank CD to put toward the project.
Tourism Director Maggy Kriebel said the ultimate goal is to have $250,000 for the project.
“I think that is proof that the project is not dead,” Kriebel said noting the commission’s goal is to be able to seek public and private donations and sponsorships to secure the additional funding for the estimated $1 million project
“If tourism has $250,000 to put toward the project, it would look a lot better when we go to solicit sponsorships and donations because people know we are serious,” Kriebel said.
Kriebel said there is no timetable for the museum in the old Corbin railroad depot to be open.
The museum has been planned since 2015. However, Kriebel said previously that other museums have taken even longer to go from planning to reality.
She noted the Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro was 30 years in the works before it opened its doors.
The commissioners made the decision to put the museum on hold after opening the bids to design, fabricate and install the exhibits that would be the centerpiece of the museum.
The bids ranged from $250,000 for a minimal design to more than $994,000.
“If we do this project, we can’t do anything else,” said Commissioner Jackie Willis upon reviewing the bids.
“We kind of have this dream and we just don’t have enough money,” said Commission Chair Victor Patel.
Work will continue on improving the area around the rolling stock on display near the depot, including resurfacing the ground around the L&N 2132 locomotive, tender, and LAN 1056 caboose, along with the French Broad River Pullman car.
The artifacts donated to the museum remain in storage inside the depot and will be incorporated into the exhibits.
In other business the commission:
- Released the request for proposals for the planning and design for the proposed splash pad. While the property donated by the Patel family has been cleared, Kriebel said the engineering portion must be completed before construction can begin. Proposals are due Thursday. “Realistically, we are looking at beginning construction in the spring, which is plenty of time to have the splash pad ready to open in the summer,” Kriebel said adding that after two years of talking about it she has as anxious as everyone else to see the project completed. The design concept calls for a train theme, with replica KFC chicken buckets to be used as the water–dumping feature.
- Approved the funds to seal the concrete pedestal on which the bronze statue of KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders sits at Sanders Park. While the commission had the original pedestal replaced after it became unstable and started crumbling, Kriebel said the new pedestal must be resealed to keep it in good condition. “This is routine maintenance,” Kriebel said.
- Kriebel said she is planning to show the movie “Hocus Pocus” at the fall “Movies in the Park” event in October 2020 after weather forced the cancellation of the event earlier this month. “We had 500 people packing the parking lot,” Kriebel said noting it was double the crowd that attended previous events. However, strong winds and lightening shut down the movie within 10 minutes. “We are going to call the 2020 event, “Second Time is a Charm,” Kriebel said.