Corbin Tourism has a heated discussion regarding Hometown Bank and the rendering of the farmers' market pavilion

The Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission met in a special session to solely "approve the Hometown Bank Sponsorship Contract," as written in the agenda on October 3.

However, Tourism commissioners spoke up and chose to reject the contract, which led to a heated discussion between them.

“So, one of the things that we were unaware of was that there would be a contract pertaining to the $250,000,” admitted Tourism Chairman Jeannie Hensley.

“Truthfully, I received the contract Monday, the day before the ceremony, and then they wanted me to forward it to our commission for review and discussion,” replied Tourism Director Maggy Monhollen.

Originally, Hometown Bank pledged $250,000 to go toward more than half the cost for the rendering of the new farmers market pavilion, located on North Main Street in downtown Corbin. The contract also involves switching the name from “farmers market pavilion” to “Hometown Bank Farmers Market Pavilion.”

“This contract should have been presented to us a year ago before the ceremony,” said Tourism Commissioner Ish Patel. “We have come to the full fledge stage where the project is way beyond ready.”

“I didn’t know there was going to be a contract,” said Monhollen. “I don’t know if I was prepared for a contract of this nature, but I knew there was discussion about naming rights.”

“This contract was done totally against us,” Tourism Commissioner Victor Patel added. “This contract says every time we have to do anything, we must get their [Hometown Bank’s] permission or let them know, they can use the pavilion for their usage, and we have to do marketing on their behalf.”

“When you get into doing that, you have a lot of other businesses that this could come up against too,” said Hensley. “We have tolook out for the community. Our main focus, to me, here, is to support the farmers and they are growing the crops, and we are working on this for them.”

“We were excited because we thought they were just doing a donation,” said Secretary/Treasurer Jackie Willis. “I’m saying no to this contract.”

“I don’t know if it was ever called a donation,” replied Monhollen. “It was a sponsorship.”

“Can it just be named farmers market pavilion?” asked Hensley. “That’s who it’s for.”

“No,” said Monhollen.

The Commission then suggested for a plaque to be dedicated with Hometown Bank’s name and placed at the pavilion site but expressed they do not agree to the contract Hometown Bank offered or naming rights.

“I’m prepared to go to Mr. Barnes and discuss to him what we discussed,” said Monhollen. “I don’t know if I have the energy to find another corporate sponsor, but I feel that at this point, the Board needs to be prepared to provide the remaining money for the project.”

This project has been two years in the making, along with $600,000 given in donations from the Whitley County Extension Office of Agriculture & Natural Resources, the Kentucky Ag. Development Board, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Corbin Tourism Commission, and Hometown Bank led to the September 27 groundbreaking ceremony.

The pavilion is expected to be built by HWC Enterprises, who was awarded the bid in January at $555,000.

On October 13, Tourism held another Special Called meeting to discuss the farmer's market pavilion, but no action was taken.

Samantha Walden, Staff Writer at The Kentucky Daily

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