Dwight Williamson: Dongming Pan’s Plans Advance Despite Opposition | Opinion

I continue to be fascinated by what was and by what could have been, as well as what should have been.

Take for example the structures of the town of Logan. Each sustainable building contains its own stories of hard work, determination, good, bad and, in some cases, deceit and corruption. However, since I’m not in the mood to chastise those who already know what I’m talking about, I’ll talk about some of the good things that happen in a city that doesn’t have a street clock but still remains lost in time.

Logan’s oldest standing structure, which once had enough residents to be described as a “town”, is directly behind the Logan Post Office. This monstrous four-story brick building was opened around 1906, and its location next to the train tracks on what is known as Highland Avenue allowed for the loading and unloading of almost any building material imaginable during the early days of Logan’s rapid growth.

The building, which opened as Logan Hardware, sold everything needed to build homes and businesses, even selling machine guns used by Sheriff Don Chafin’s “army” in the Battle of Blair Mountain in 1921.

After more than 100 years of service to the community, it was unfortunately left vacant – like other buildings have been – only to eventually crumble or be demolished, in both cases at a cost that would rival that of the fire that destroyed the historic Aracoma Hotel. in Logan on November 15, 2010.

Today, through the vision of Courtney McCoy Quick (recently married to Derek DeProspero), through hard work and determination, the site has been transformed into what can only be described as the equivalent of a constructive heart transplant. A restaurant, a gigantic bar with pool tables, and a third floor that’s been turned into accommodation, especially for Hatfield-McCoy trail runners, is just the beginning of the story. Large rooms are also reserved for weddings and other ceremonies with catering services available.

A stone’s throw from McCoy station are two more vintage structures that are being transformed into modern facilities. Located on Stratton and Hudgins Street, the former Logan National Bank building bought by David Gore has been modernized and even has beautiful night lights that illuminate the city center.

Although it once served as a bank, the building was first opened as an OJ Morrison department store, after the company purchased the property there in 1928. Today, several offices are available for public use. commercial.

The second building closer to opening for business is the former location of the Peebles store which is directly across the tracks from McCoy Station and directly across from the courthouse.

It’s this building – on a site that once served as Logan’s first cinema, which showed silent films – that has people curiously watching the progress of a business that its owner says will be a factory that could employ about 100 local people.

US citizen Dongming Pan, whom his friends just call Pan, has taken the town of Logan by storm, buying up the former Logan Banner and Letter Shop properties near Holland Lane and the former Newsroom building on Charles Street.

Extensive renovations have already been carried out at great expense, particularly to the former Logan Banner and Letter Shop locations. Pan ran for Logan City Council and Mayor Serafino Nolletti last September, and he hired locals almost immediately to begin what can only be called incredible renovations.

As a former Logan Banner employee familiar with these Stratton and Charles Street properties, this writer can tell you that the amount of change and progress there is something to appreciate, as it’s likely nothing less than demolition was in progress before Dongming Pan arrived. in town with a vision.

Pan’s optimism for Logan and his political views caused many Loganites, banking officials, and government officials to be skeptical of Pan’s intentions. It seems few people can understand why he would choose Logan as the location to open what he calls “factories,” which Pan says will employ locals in making clothes and textiles.

The New York-based developer, who is involved with businesses in New York, California, India and the UK, has expressed frustration with some local government officials, who he says don’t like what he’s doing. try to accomplish.

Other people even made such ridiculous comments as saying that Pan was planning to “take over the city” and bring Chinese laborers to town. Further ignorance was demonstrated by one man’s comment: “We don’t need people like him here.

Despite purchasing several 30-minute radio spots to talk about his plans for Logan, a website he created called My Logan Town, and a recent video made by his engineering employees to explain what’s planned, negativity is driven more by political views than towards local progress.

Although Mayor Nolletti has expressed satisfaction with the current occupation of empty buildings, there appears to be miscommunication between Pan and some other government officials.

Just last Thursday, a truck brought 27 pallets of boxes of materials to be used in fabrication at the Pan job site. Despite being on a business trip to Paris, France last Tuesday, Pan was delighted to hear that the materials had finally arrived, after being stored in boats off New York Harbor for several months. .

Even though Pan has announced a deal with the federal government to make some materials for the military at its soon-to-open Logan plant, his frustration is shown in an email he recently sent to the Logan County Commission.

Although the email is somewhat difficult to understand, it’s clear he doesn’t feel welcome at Logan’s. “I’m welcome wherever I go when it comes to business,” Pan said. “In Logan I am opening and renovating a building for potential factory work right next to the Logan County Commission building and none of them bothered to enter the building and leave. see what has been accomplished.”

However, Logan County Administrator Alvis Porter Jr. visited the site several weeks ago – unbeknownst to Pan – when I invited him to take a look at where an employee was showing me some new machines that had arrived. Porter said he was impressed with what he saw.

Perhaps Pan is dreaming as he plans to announce an international skateboarding competition to include competitors from around the world in a race from Logan to Williamson which he hopes to do in October when the beauty of the southern mountains West Virginia will be on full display.

“My wish is to have a child Logan one day to be a world champion,” said Pan, the dreamer. “I want to open a skate park in Logan.”

Perhaps you have heard the names of other people referred to as “dreamers”. How about Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Albert Einstein or other really older dreamers – Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln – get my drift?

A good sign in Logan of opposites working together is Pan and businesswoman Courtney DeProspero of the McCoy Station restaurant. Although on starkly different ends of the political spectrum, the two have worked together in plans for future improvements, with Pan even helping Courtney buy some of the items her business needs at a discount.

Before leaving Logan earlier this month, Pan was invited to Pikeville, Kentucky, where he was shown around their industrial park and invited to open businesses there.

Pan is expected to return to Logan in the coming days, and he hopes to sign a property deed on Dingess Street, which could be converted into a homeless shelter. Plus, he recently said it was going to cost half a million dollars to open a brewery/restaurant in Logan.

Maybe all those hopes and plans in Logan are just a dream.

If so, don’t wake me.

Dwight Williamson is a magistrate in Logan County. He writes a weekly column for HD Media.

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