Corbin Main Street Manager plans to re-brand downtown in 2012
Above, a screenshot of the new Corbin Main Street website. It can be found online at www.downtowncorbin.com.
Corbin Main Street Manager Andy Salmons wants to make 2012 the year the city successfully re-brands its downtown.
Serving quietly since last September in his capacity as the leading edge of the city's efforts to revitalize its core business district, Salmons announced this week some exciting developments for the Main Street Program.
Early this month, the Main Street Program will unveil its new website, which can be found online at www.downtowncorbin.com. A web developer by trade, Salmons said he personally designed the new website and wants it to be not only a go-to information source for anyone curious about the town's Main Street Program, but also a place where people can interact and offer opinions, ideas and suggestions.
"It's really going to be a place for the community to know what is going on," Salmons said. "It will be open to comments and will be a way for people to give us feedback and those sort so things. We are going to work very hard this year on re-branding downtown and we want to get a lot of input. We want to create something that is very memorable."
The hip, modern website will feature a calendar of events, a business directory and even blogs from Salmons, other officials and many Main Street Merchants.
Hand in hand with the website will be the unveiling of a Corbin Main Street app for Iphone and Android phone users. The app, Salmons said, will include information about downtown stores and other attractions, and will have an interactive directory where business owners will be able to advertise and promote their businesses.
In the near future, a complete calendar of event for 2012 will be released for the Main Street Program. Salmons said some ideas from the past will likely be on the list, including a summer movie series, live music and Moonbow Nights - a twice-a-year promotion held in Corbin designed to attract shoppers to downtown stores; always held to coincide with optimum viewing times for the moonbow at Cumberland Falls.
"We are hoping to take some things we've done in the past and expand on them, but also introduce some new things that we hope will catch on and that will grow," Salmons said. "I think there will be a lot for people to be excited about going on in downtown."
And 2012 Salmons vows the Main Street Program will begin to tackle the monumental task of crafting a "comprehensive master plan for the total redevelopment of downtown Corbin."
"That is going to be a long process and a hard process and we are just in the very, very beginning of that right now," Salmons said.
Though work is preliminary, already some engineering and architectural firms have offered ideas for what a transformation of downtown Corbin may look like. Salmons has kept the renderings under tight wraps, saying they are very perfunctory and provide only a sliver of what is possible.
"We want that process to be really organized. So far, we've just had some architects and engineers do some free consultations for us and it's just helped us get to the beginning steps," Salmons said.
"I think everyone here is dedicated to transforming our downtown from the commission to the mayor and new city manager. Everyone wants to find a way together, but it's going to take the help of the community," he added. "The community has to be involved. This is Corbin's downtown and we want to know what the community wants in their downtown."
Most cities in Kentucky create Main Street programs as a way to win lucrative grants in order to undertake downtown streetscape projects. But to secure grant funding, a master plan is vital. Corbin has had a Main Street program for four years, but has never put together such a plan.
Salmons puts no timeline on completion of a master plan, but said he hopes community discussions concerning it can take place this year.
All the Main Street programs in Kentucky are governed by rules set out by the Kentucky Heritage Council. Salmons said he is working to reform four dormant committees intended to guide and steer the direction of the program. The committees cover design, economic restructuring, organization and promotion.
Salmons said the program is looking for volunteers who want to participate on those committees. Anyone interested can do so by emailing contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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