Revitalization project planned in Middlesboro

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (WYMT) - The group "Discover Downtown Middlesboro" hopes a revitalization effort will create new jobs and spur the local economy.

The group hopes to revitalize 200 buildings in downtown Middlesboro.

Isaac Kremer and Marie Oehlerking are researching the deeds for 200 historic buildings in downtown Middlesboro.

"We're finding everything we can on the architecture and the history and when they were built and unique things about them," said Kremer.

The pair along with the group Discover Downtown Middlesboro hope to restore and renovate the 200 buildings, some date back to the 1890s.

Discover Downtown Middlesboro already has thousands of dollars in grants for the project, and officials say 100 of the buildings are eligible for federal rehabilitation tax credits.

"Rich main street with a lot of businesses still in the buildings and a lot to work with and people are interested so it's very active," said Oehlerking.

Leaders say the goal for the revitalization project is to create new jobs and boost the economy in Middlesboro.

"The idea is, if we fix the buildings that will create jobs and over time, I think that's going to bring the revitalization we're all looking and hoping for," said Kremer.

Plans are already underway to repair and renovate the former hospital building. Once finished, they hope to recruit a business to use it.

Marie Oehlerking is from Texas but is doing an internship with Discover Downtown Middlesboro. "Hopefully I can come back in a few years and downtown will be hopping like it was in the 1950s," she said.

They hope the research will help restore the buildings that helped get Middlesboro the nickname "The Magic City."

The group is also making a database of all the deed research for anyone who wants to look up historical items.

Kremer says anyone interested in helping can go to Discover Downtown Middlesboro's Facebook page for information.

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