TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
A focal point in Corbin’s downtown could become a city-owned property later this month.
Mayor Willard McBurney confirmed Tuesday that Nibroc Park, located at the corner of Main and 1st streets, is being bought by the city from the property’s present owner, Cumberland Valley National Bank and Trust Company.
He said the property will remain Nibroc Park — with some planned improvements.
“The park’s been surveyed and everything’s ready to go. The bank is just waiting for us to finish the deal, and Bob (City Attorney Bob Hammons) is finishing the work on the deed and title search. Once that’s done, we’ll finalize it and take it over, hopefully by the end of July,” McBurney said.
“We have agreed to purchase it and make Nibroc Park a city-owned park. The park is becoming more popular with people and it encourages people to live downtown. That’s a big step in bringing people back downtown,” added City Commissioner Ed Tye.
McBurney said a $25,000 donation from the Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission helped to seal the deal.
“The city’s thought about buying the property for some time, and we got serious about it a couple of years ago. We even asked if the bank would donate the land to us. We approached Tourism about us buying the property back in April, and they gave us the $25,000 in May towards purchasing the property. It’d been hard for us to buy it if Tourism hadn’t given us the money. That’s tourism dollars that’s well-invested,” he pointed out.
Both Tye and McBurney said Nibroc Park has been used for several events during the last year-and-a-half, including events put on by the Downtown Corbin (formerly Main Street Corbin) organization. Those events include Moonbow Nights, the annual Chili Bowl, Octoberfest and Downtown Christmas festivities.
The park has also been a gathering place in recent years for those attending the annual NIBROC Festival, and is used for other smaller gatherings year-round.
McBurney said the city has some ideas for the park once they officially sign the deed.
“We would like to put a permanent covered stage down there, clean it up, do a facelift on it and if we get permission, cut the pine trees down by the wall and fix that wall over there. We’d like to put a mural on the wall, showcasing buildings of Corbin’s past. People like to have green space, and we want to make the park more user-friendly. People are welcome to come there anytime,” McBurney mentioned.
The wall presently is part of a building on South Main Street that houses Maggie J’s Dress Shop, among other properties.
While many people today know the small space on the corner of 1st and Main as a park, both McBurney and Tye remember a time when the property housed one of Corbin’s tallest buildings.
“In that corner, there used to be a three-story building where Belk-Simpson had their department store. Then it was the Mitchell Building, and the building burned in a fire. At the time, Frank White owned the building. After it burned down, Cumberland Valley National Bank owned it,” McBurney said.
Last year, Cumberland Valley’s downtown office across the street from Nibroc Park closed. Tye noted the old building has potential for those wanting to help bring business to the city’s downtown area.
“The old Cumberland Valley building’s a nice structure, with a lot of square footage,” he said.
Both agreed the purchase of Nibroc Park, and the planned improvements, would be a positive step in improving the city’s quality of life.
“Over at Nibroc Park, the trees make it shady and cool. And you can go by there anytime and you see people there enjoying life. That park is a focal point in Corbin. It’s used a lot, and it’s rapidly becoming a destination point for our downtown area. That’s what we like to see. Bringing people back together in town,” said McBurney.