Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Breaks Ground on Corbin Agriculture and Exposition Center

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, August 14, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Lanny Brannock

Multi-purpose facility will be economic driver for southeastern Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today took part in breaking ground for the Southeast Regional Agriculture and Exposition Center, a multi-purpose facility envisioned as an economic driver for a broad section of southeastern Kentucky.

"This new facility creates opportunities for our southern and southeastern counties to attract big events and spur economic development with restaurants, hotels and other family-oriented activities,” Governor Fletcher said during the ceremony in Corbin.  “This center will also give farmers a place to showcase their products, and will have an enormous impact on this community and the region as a whole."

The center, to be part of a complex that houses the Corbin Technology Center, will contain

133,000 square feet – a bit more than three acres. It will serve a region of 11 counties – Bell, Jackson, Laurel, Whitley, Knox, Harlan, Rockcastle, Pulaski, Clay, Leslie and McCreary – as a tool for economic development and tourism.  Its uses will include workforce development, agricultural shows, equestrian events, sporting events and an array of live entertainment. It’s expected to have 150 event days in its first year.

“This center will be a catalyst for success for our farmers specifically and for all businesses in this region of Kentucky for decades to come,” said Sen. Robert Stivers (R-Manchester).

“Investment in agriculture is vital to the future success of Kentucky’s farms and farm families,” said Sen. Tom Jensen (R-London).

“A multi-use venue is greatly needed in the southeastern part of the commonwealth, and will bring tourism and economic opportunity to Corbin and the surrounding area,” said Rep. Charles Siler (R-Williamsburg)

The center will contain an arena that will have approximately 4,900 permanent seats. Temporary floor seats can increase capacity to 7,500.

Total cost of the project is expected to be more than $20 million. It was financed with the help of a $12 million line item from the 2005 budget. Construction is expected to be complete by March 2009.

“I’m extremely excited about the prospect of having entertainment from such a broad spectrum in this part of the state. It’s time southeastern Kentucky had a showplace all its own,” said Rep. Marie Rader (R-McKee).

“This facility will be a great asset to the people of this region. It will be beneficial to our farmers as a marketplace and a spark to bring in further economic development,” said Rep. Tommy Turner (R-Somerset).