County Connections: Corbin economy evolves from railroad town to industry and tourism

08/30/2017 10:06 AM

CORBIN — The city of Corbin has moved from being a regional railroad center to its current status as a small-scale industrial center and tourist stop.

Nestled at the foot of the Cumberland mountains, Corbin has not seen the severe population decline that has hampered other communities in eastern Kentucky.

Mayor Willard McBurney says his city has partnered with surrounding counties to establish a place that will attract businesses which, in turn, will provide jobs to the areas citizens.

“We have a six-county industrial park that is on the bypass, and it consists of a new plant that is getting ready to come in, North American Euro Sticks, and they should be open somewhere around September,” McBurney said. “We’ve got KOWA from Japan, that is automotive plating. They do a lot of the plating of parts for Toyota.”

McBurney says that one key to attracting new businesses is the city’s successful independent school district.

“We have one of the top school systems in the state of Kentucky,” McBurney said. “There’s a waiting list to get into our school system. It’s a tremendous recruiting tool for industry because that’s one of the first things they (businesses) look at.”

The urbanized area in the northern part of Corbin extends into Laurel County. This area is not incorporated into the city limits due to a state law prohibiting cities from being in more than two counties. However, this area is served by some of the city’s public services.


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