By Jeff Noble
It’s a tiny idea that Andy Salmons thinks could go over big in downtown Corbin.
Parallel parks — known nationally as “Parklets” — are about to be a part of the city’s landscape this spring.
Salmons, the director of the Downtown Corbin program, said the City of Corbin will launch a few of the parallel parks as part of the downtown’s rejuvenation that’s currently underway.
“A few local restaurants have requested that. The Dixie on Main Street will be the first to get one,” he said.
Salmons pointed out a photo of what the parallel park would look like, which gives an idea of how it will blend in with the area.
He said about the photo, “It was a prototype, just to make sure the final version we’ll put out will fit and function as we want it to do.”
According to governing.com, the parallel parks work best in front of businesses like eating establishments, which cater to walk-up customers.
“It’s curb appeal. Seating, umbrellas, it’s to get people to sit down and enjoy a sandwich or a meal, as well as get traffic to take notice about stopping to the restaurants,” Salmons added.
When the final versions are ready to go, the parallel parks will have landscaping around them, and will incorporate safety features to protect the parks from any impact from traffic.
Salmons said the parallel parks will have a threefold purpose.
“What we hope to accomplish is one, they’ll have a traffic-calming effect. Two, it will provide additional space for pedestrians to utilize them. Third, it will allow us to test out infrastructure concepts without spending a lot of money,” he pointed out.
Salmons hopes to have a total of four parallel parks in the downtown area.
He said that while the Dixie Cafe of Corbin will have one of them, the other locations were still being determined.
What has been determined is that one current Corbin business will come over to Main Street.
He confirmed that Basil’s Italian Restaurant would move from their present location on Beatty Avenue to the “205 Building” downtown on Main.
“Oh, they’re very excited about coming down on Main Street and moving into a bigger building, as I am and so is the city,” said Salmons.
He added the Basil’s move downtown is bringing excitement to an area that’s undergone a dramatic and positive transformation over the last 12 months.
Salmons mentioned the success of the Whitley County Farmers’ Market location downtown at the corner of Main and Monroe streets was amazing, which brought out a lot of vendors and people to buy fresh fruit, vegetables and farm-grown items.
In addition, he pointed to several weekend and special events, such as Moonbow Nights, the annual Chili Bowl, the City Yard Sales, Cumberland Valley Cruise-In, Octoberfest and the Christmas Open House, which added spice, spunk and spirit to the downtown area.
Other signs are seen with the hammering, sawing and painting going on inside some Main Street properties that once stood vacant.
Salmons said those signs are good signs to bringing Corbin a vibrant, active and inviting downtown.
“We’re looking at some new business to move downtown. There are currently negotiations happening as we speak, there’s leases signed, and there are definitely renovations going on,” he said.
Work is also underway on several projects for this year.
The event calendar for 2014, which lists the events the Downtown Corbin program will bring, is presently in progress and will be released soon.
Salmons also said the program is working with the new Corbin Tourism Commission team of Director of Tourism Portia Gosser and Associate Director Maggie Kriebel on ways to work in tandem with Downtown Corbin.
He added the City of Corbin will have a new website, which is presently being designed and constructed.