Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

March 6, 2013

Hometown couple sees beauty, potential in Olive Hill

By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer

March 6, 2013 — Nearly three years after massive flooding in Olive Hill, some buildings in the downtown area still remain vacant, damage by water, vandalism and neglect.

To some, these structures represent a town of the past whose best days have come and gone.

Hometowners J.D. and Debbie Rayburn, however, see the same buildings as brimming with potential.

Having worked in real estate throughout Carter County for years, the Rayburns feel they have a vested interest in the revitalization of Olive Hill.

And they have made a personal and financial investment toward that end.

“We still own property in Grayson and have lots of wonderful friends there,” said Debbie Rayburn. “Olive Hill is our hometown, though, and we really felt that we wanted to have a presence here too.”

“It’s really important to us to be involved in helping both towns. We reinvest more than 90 percent of the money we make back into this county because we want to see it grow,” said J.D. Rayburn.

“We’re not here for money. We’re here to improve the county, which starts by improving our two cities,” he added.

Putting their money where their mouths are, the Rayburns took on the challenges of purchasing a building to across from the historic depot in downtown Olive Hill and renovating it from the ground up.

As a result, Scenic Hills Realty has become one of the most beautiful office facilities in the city.

“We traveled to look at buildings to see how we wanted things. It was important to us to keep the brick but it turned out that finding the steel beams along the ceiling was exactly what we wanted,” said Debbie.

The décor of original brick, custom woodwork and various antiques and sundry gives the facility a warm and inviting feel which the couple hopes will inspire other entrepreneurs to undertake similar endeavors in a revitalized downtown.

“We love our city. We think there is so much potential here. I see so much beauty. I don’t see dilapidated buildings, I see great possibilities,” said J.D. Rayburn.

Joe Lewis can be reached at or by telephone at 286-4201.