TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

March 18, 2014

Request to close downtown alley approved

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer

On Monday, the Corbin City Commission unanimously approved the closing of the alley behind a building at 115 Main Street, pending the consent of all property owners along the alley who agree on the closing.

The structure involved was the former Thomasville Gallery building. For an older generation, the building was also known as the location of the JCPenney department store.

In December 2012, the non-profit organization Greater Corbin Housing, Inc. (GCH) bought the building, with the selling price not disclosed. At that time, tentative plans were for GCH to put apartments on the upper level and have a retail store on the ground level.

During Monday’s regular meeting of the city commission, GCH Vice-President Dora Mobley said the non-profit still has plans to renovate the structure — with the building to be a combination of market rate rental apartments and smaller retail spaces.

The concern for Mobley and the non-profit’s Board of Directors is the rear entrance of the building opens directly onto a city-owned alley and city parking lot.

In a letter dated Monday and sent to the City Commission and Mayor Willard McBurney, Mobley noted the city’s code enforcement officer, Frank Burke, told her in a recent conversation that the rear of the building doesn’t meet residential code due to egress of residential property can not be onto a public street.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “egress” is a way to get out of a place, or the act of leaving a place.

She added that prior to Greater Corbin Housing continuing with residential plans and beginning the renovation process, the alley would need to be closed so that the building’s rear egress meets code.

“We don’t have any general plans, but we wanted to get all the property owners to agree on it, before we started any work on the renovations. This was first and foremost,” said Mobley after the meeting.

GCH’s Board of Directors requested that the alley which connects 1st Street and 2nd Street on the block between Main and Depot streets be closed, and that 10-foot depth of the alley be deeded to each property owner involved.

City Attorney Bob Hammons told the commissioners he and Mobley met earlier about the situation, and there was a procedure that would handle the situation.

After a motion was made to approve the closing of the alley — on the condition that all the property owners along the alleyway agreed to the closing — the motion was approved by McBurney and City Commissioners Ed Tye, Bruce Hodge, Joe Shelton and Suzie Razmus.

Council members also approved City Manager Marlon Sams declaring some city equipment as surplus, and putting it on the Internet auction website eBay. It included five signal light bars from the Corbin Fire Department, a 1986 Honda four-wheeler from the Parks and Recreation Department, and several items from the city’s Public Works Department. Those items included four vehicles, a drill press and an old camper to be resold.

Sams mentioned an earlier eBay auction which involved putting old Corbin Police vehicles on the site netted between $6,000-$7,000 for the city.

Commission members also accepted the resignation of Joshua Miller, who formerly worked full-time for the city’s Public Works Department. Then they also authorized Sams to advertise the vacancy for the position in Public Works.

Early in the session, the commission voted to approve the February bills for payment, the minutes from the last regular meeting, and the special meetings of Feb. 20 and 21.

Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission Director of Tourism Portia Gosser gave updates to the Mayor and City Commissioners. She noted there’s a new slogan for Corbin’s tourism efforts — “Corbin Loves Company” — and that a new brochure was being developed which would feature a fold-out map in the middle, with all the information a visitor would ever need about Corbin, or if they ever came to the city.

Gosser also mentioned she and Associate Director Maggy Kriebel have worked with Main Street Corbin Manager Andy Salmons about sprucing up the downtown area, putting up banners downtown and starting a meeting with downtown merchants on the second Monday of the month.

In addition, she briefly discussed the possibility of starting a hospitality training session with merchants and employees to help prepare Corbin for company.

McBurney announced four people were reappointed to two of the city’s boards.

Present Tourism Board members Alan Onkst, Tom Rose and Teresa Carpenter were reappointed, with their three-year terms expiring March 30, 2017. Also, Brenda Jones was reappointed to the Library Board, with her four-year team expiring April 30, 2018.

The meeting ended with Bobby Owens of the Laurel County Shriner’s Club presenting the city with a plaque for their efforts in supporting Shriner’s Hospitals. For the past three years, the City of Corbin has approved giving the Laurel Shriners a $1,000 check for their efforts with children.

Owens said in 2013, Shriner’s Hospitals helped 214 children in Laurel County, 208 children in Whitley County and 90 children in Knox County. McBurney asked for a motion to support the Shriners this year, which was unanimously approved.

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