CORBIN — The Corbin City Commission met on Monday for a special work session with Mayor Suzie Razmus presenting possible projects and opportunities for the community for 2023.
As a work session, there were no official votes in the meeting.
Among issues discussed was Corbin receiving $100,000 in opioid settlement money to cover five years. Mayor Razmus said it’s all the city can expect from the settlement.
Prior to learning the amount, Mayor Razmus considered transitional housing a possibility for those in recovery that could include child care, transportation and a stable home.
“I got started dreaming big when we applied for the money,” Mayor Razmus said. “I got to thinking, ‘What could we do that would be transformational for our community?’”
With the amount of opioid settlement money received being much smaller than expected, the city is looking into the possibility of partnering with non-profit organizations like Volunteers of America. They could utilize some land on the Corbin Eastern Kentucky University campus to make the dream still become a reality.
The transitional housing would be mostly in the care and upkeep of the organizations that partner with the city and would be fashioned similarly to the Richmond Scholar House on the Eastern Kentucky University campus in Richmond.
“We have met with the president of EKU Dr. David McFaddin, (Senate President) Robert Stivers, Volunteers of America and others,” Mayor Razmus said. “It seems like a natural fit for up there on that hill not being used. This would be a perfect opportunity.”
The vision is that the tenants of the transitional housing would be enrolled in some type of higher education to be qualified for the program.
The city would provide the $100,000 settlement money to purchase a means of transportation for those who resided in the transitional housing and would look for government funding opportunities to be used in the project.
The project is still in the planning stages, and no date has been released for when the project will start or the funds it will take to make this possibility a reality.
The commission also discussed possible opportunities to provide support for the homeless and emergency situations during cold temperatures like a warming center but the location and details have not yet been confirmed.
The US 25W reconstruction project is being started, a project the mayor hopes that in completion will lower the amount of wrecks and delays that often happen in the area.
“We have to remember that progress is painful sometimes and we need to be patient while we make that situation better over the next few years,” Razmus said.
In further news about local roads, the city is in negotiations to obtain a new road.
“KYTC (Kentucky Transportation Cabinet) has asked us to take in the road beside McDonald’s,” Mayor Razmus said. “I think it’s something we need to do and help improve this road.”
KYTC has also been doing traffic studies concerning the Roy Kidd Avenue in hopes of making the road safer for those who travel it.
The commission also discussed cleaning up the city.
“Improving run down sites is something really important to us,” Mayor Razmus said. “We definitely always budgeted money to get that done because it brings down property values and it just doesn’t look well.”
City Manager Marlon Sams said there are many different reasons these places end up like this: people move away, get behind on taxes, fires occur and insurance takes time to assess damage and pay out.
“The process is long but we hope to see improvement in this,” Sams said. “We have to call property owners and hunt them down, make sure there are no liens and that takes time.”
They also discussed getting a marker to describe the story of the Christmas Star (atop the Kentucky Hill water tower) but have not figured out where it would be located so it would have the most impact during Christmas.
It was also reported that Miller Park is about 97 percent complete and city officials hope for it to be opened by Spring.
Construction has also begun for the updates on The Corbin Center — a $2.5 million project that includes an additional large room to the center which would allow for convention business that could bring people to the area.
A couple of developers are interested in building a flagship hotel near the property.
“That is in the works,” Razmus said.
In closing, new commissioner John Baker made remarks on how it is important to him to keep taxes low for the community, balance the budget, make sure schools and education stay strong and attract businesses to the area.
“I am looking forward to help do this the best I can,” Baker said.
Mayor Razmus’ focus for the year is to move the city forward.
“We have to fight for our survival here in Corbin,” Razmus said. “I think we are setting things up right now that we will be here for many years and I feel confident in that. We aren’t going to be able to say that if we just sit back, but that’s not what we are here for. We want to survive and thrive for the next 100 years.”