TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

March 11, 2009

Expo Center grand opening

Approximately 1,000 people, along with city and state dignitaries, on hand for Tuesday’s celebration

By Sean Bailey / Staff Writer

It started as a dream ten years ago the way so many dreams start.

The dream for the The Arena at the David L. Williams Southeast Kentucky Agriculture and Exposition Complex was born back in 1999 with discussion between four friends and, at some point, a doodle on a napkin.

“I’ve heard actually that the original design was drawn on the back of a napkin,” said Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear. “A lot of good things started on the back of napkin and this is one of them. And today to walk in here and to see a facility of this type in Corbin, Kentucky — what this is going to do for this region from economic standpoint is tremendous.”

Beshear was just one of many state and local dignitaries on hand for Tuesday’s grand opening of Corbin’s expo center — a project that has been ten years in the making and has cost the city approximately $23 million.

Before Beshear took the stage, Corbin’s City Manager Bill Ed Cannon gave a brief history of the 7,000 person capacity arena.

Cannon told the dignitaries and public about the meeting between him, then-mayor Scotty Williamson, Bob Mitchell District Administrator for U.S. Representative Hal Rogers, and Kentucky State Senator David L. Williams on a sunny afternoon in 1999 that started it all.

During that meeting, Cannon said the men talked about the advances in technology, the trends in economic development and realized that the region lacked a lot of opportunities.

The expo center was part of their solution.

“These three gentlemen had a vision,” Cannon said. “A lot of us have kids and grandkids, but today we have given birth to a ten year old baby. It’s been ten years in the making, we’ve got a phenomenal facility and I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity our leadership has allowed us to have with this facility.”

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