TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
What’s been a work in progress for almost a year came to an end Wednesday with the dedication of McBurney Manor Apartments.
Owned by Greater Corbin Housing — a non-profit organization formed in 2005 by the Housing Authority of Corbin — the 32-unit apartment complex at 529 Master Street officially cut the ribbon and held an open house to a host of people.
One of them was the man it was named after, Mayor Willard McBurney.
The new apartments have a soft spot in his heart. Like many Corbinites from years past, the centerpiece for the complex was once a house of learning in that part of town.
“I went to school here for eight years, here at the old East Ward Elementary School. I used to ride my tricycle and later my bike through this area when I was a child. Being from the neighborhood and going to school here adds a new dimension to it, and it’s quite an honor to have it named after myself,” McBurney said during the open house, which went on from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
During the dedication ceremony, he told the audience having the apartments named after him was “quite an honor.”
“I’m very humbled that it does bear my name,” McBurney noted.
He later said each housing development owned by the Housing Authority of Corbin is named after mayors who were in office when the apartments were completed.
Two examples of that are VanBeber Court, just off Master Street, named after Mayor Robert VanBeber; and Vermillion Village on Madison Street and 8th Street, named after Mayor Richard “Dick” Vermillion.
McBurney and Mark Daniels, chairperson for the Housing Authority, gave high compliments to the project’s architect, Steve Kersey, of Louisville.
“Mr. Kersey did such a great job restoring the original look of the old school, as well as moving forward with having the latest amenities for housing in the 21st Century. The old East Ward School was a find for us. It just came up. It was available, and it was also a great opportunity. We looked at options and this came to be, so we pursued it. And Dora (Dora Mobley, Director of the Housing Authority of Corbin) is a very pro-active person when it comes to bringing these people together to make it a reality,” Daniels noted.
McBurney added during his speech at the dedication, “I came over here when they did the footers for these apartments, and I told Dora they wouldn’t have this done until March. Here it is the end of October.”
Of the 32 apartments in McBurney Manor, Mobley said 16 of them are located on the two floors of the renovated school building, with another 16 built behind it. She pointed out people have not only visited the units, but have asked about living there.
“They’re all ready to be rented. We’ve had people ask about them, and we’ve had people make applications, and we’re getting ready to move some of them in. I feel very pleased about today’s opening,” said Mobley.
Kersey — who has a cousin, an aunt and other family members living in Corbin — said it was four years ago when Mobley called him about looking into making the old school part of a new project.
“I played Little League football outside this building. Most of these people remember this school building from their childhood. And now, we have people who want to live here who went to school here when they were kids 30-40 years ago. There’s a real connection with this building, now and then. It’s a very good feeling to sustain these old buildings for the cultural impact,” Kersey said.
All 32 affordable housing units at McBurney Manor have two bedrooms, one bath and include a washer and dryer, along with water, sewer service and garbage service.
The rent is at $450-$475 per month, plus a $250 deposit.
Information at the open house said that for a family size of one, the annual income must be less than $22,020. For a family size of two, the annual income must be less than $25,140, while for a family size of three, the annual income must be less than $28,320. Finally, for a family size of four, the annual income must be less than $31,440.
Applications are being taken at the Housing Authority of Corbin office at 11336 Madison Street in Corbin. Applicants can call 528-5104 for more information.
In January of this year, Mobley said the physical work of remodeling and upgrading the former school began after last Thanksgiving. During that time, the site was given the temporary name Greater Corbin Housing Apartments.
It was given the name McBurney Manor Apartments in July.
Housing Partnership, Inc. of Louisville partnered with the housing authority on the construction and rehabilitation of the building, with a total of $4.5 million in private money funding the work.
“It is a privilege for all you people to be here, because this has added more affordable housing, and I hope we have more. These are real nice apartments. Some of them have around 1,100 square feet in them,” McBurney reported.
Daniels added, “Today’s a big moment for us. When I came on board, we all agreed we needed to look at some properties because we knew additional affordable housing units were needed. We were fortunate to get this building. I went to school here, and today, I saw my first grade teacher here. Remembering the old building and seeing it now is amazing. On the history element, they, the architect and the builders, did a great job.”