Just over two months into her tenure as Mayor of Corbin, Suzie Razmus spoke to a packed house at the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday to update the members on projects and developments in the city.
Razmus addressed several economic issues, explaining that while the coal industry and the railroad industry that supports it, locally, are in decline, the area is seeing a steady economic growth.
“I really feel like our future is bright as far as bringing in new business and industry,” Razmus said.
While Corbin once looked to companies such as CSX, U.S. Steel and American Greeting Card for jobs, Razmus noted companies from Japan, France and, most recently, England are employing more and more local residents.
“We have our own little UN going there,” Razmus said.
Razmus said among the major drawing cards are the quality of the school system and medical care, along with the natural beauty and outdoor activities available in the area.
“We have a lot going for us,” Razmus said.
In an effort to further set Corbin apart to prospective employers, a group of business leaders and city commissioners is working to create potential incentives the city may offer to companies seeking to locate in Corbin.
Razmus noted that other communities offer such incentives and this is an attempt to make Corbin competitive.
“We are not going to give away the farm,” Razmus said.
One project that is still ongoing is Keeneland’s quarterhorse racing track to be located off of the Corbin bypass.
When asked about the status of the project, Razmus said she has not heard anything new on it.
“I would think that by the fall we may hear something,” she said.
Keeneland purchased the property with the goal of opening the facility in 2016.
However, numerous issues, including an infestation of an endangered species of bat in a wooded area of the property has delayed construction.
Keeneland had been working to purchase the required racing license from Appalachian Racing, Inc., the owner of the defunct harness racing track in Floyd County.
At the time the racing commission had issued racing licenses to facilities across the state.
However, it was discovered that there was a ninth license, which was unissued.
Upon learning of this, Keeneland officials applied for the available license.
With Floyd County potentially liable for the bond debt, a lawsuit was filed to force the company to purchase that license.
In July 2017, the $2.2 million in outstanding bonds were paid off, rendering the lawsuit moot.
The Floyd County license was returned to the racing commission.
The racing commission has taken no action of the application for the racing license.
Vince Gabbert, vice president and chief operating officer of Keeneland, said previously that once construction begins, the plan is to have the facility ready and open for business within 14 months.
Crews were active at the site in the spring of 2018 clearing off brush.