... A Sour Apple Tree

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Name:
Location: Huntington, WV, United States

I'm a 37 year-old guy from Huntington, WV.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

You take the good, you take the bad.

The last few days have been full of ups and downs for Huntington.

THE BAD:

Stanbery has announced that it no longer plans to build an upscale strip mall at KineticPark due to lack of interest from potential tenants.

Right after the strip mall was cancelled, officials from various quasi-governmental agencies began passing the blame around like a blunt at a skate park. Was it the HMDA? The city? Stanbery? The retailers? The TTA?

I, too, have been pwned by this and other attempts to get the KineticPark project in gear. I was quite certain that Pullman Square was going to be a turd in the swimming pool while KineticPark would surely thrive, with its approximatity to the interstate and whatnot. As it stands, Pullman Square is helping to revitalize the downtown area while KineticPark is reminiscent of a Bluth Company project on TV's Arrested Development.

In the nearly ten years since the plan was announced, over 18 million dollars have been spent on what was intended to be a technology-oriented business park. As of December 2006, the location currently houses a Bob Evans restaurant, an accountant, and a dermatologist.

Can we start using the word "white elephant" yet? If so, maybe we can move the pink elephant on Rt. 60 to the site and paint it white as a reminder to think twice about future pie-in-the-sky ideas.

I think that I am being a bit too harsh. Battin' .500 ain't too bad and maybe (hopefully) something good does come out of it. It is just unfortunate that 18 million had to be flushed with little to show for the investment. I know this is not how grants/earmarks/pork projects work, but wouldn't it have been rad/a better use of money if just half of the KP money had gone to make Pullman Square even more bad-ass?

Ok, enough grouchiness. Now for...

The Good:

A company called PRC announced that it will be opening an inbound call center in the former Arch Coal building (it's the one on top of the hill by Dairy Queen and the old Ames, just off of the 5th St. exit of I 64). They say that they plan on hiring as many as 700 people over the next few months, which will be a welcome shot in the arm of the economy.

They have also indicated that they will pay more than the average wage of other area telemarketing/call center firm, which if memory serves me from my time as a employee of a couple of these companies during my college days, is probably about $7 or $8 per hour. This means that we can roughly estimate that they will be paying around $8 to $9 per hour. While for a single-wage family that figure really isn't enough to make ends meet, that wouldn't be too bad as a second income and it sure beats working in fast food for $6 per hour.

Also, We Are Marshall gets its national release on Friday. Although the movie is getting mixed reviews at best, there is always a large demand for movies where sports is used as a metaphor for triumph in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity. Granted, the sports movie has become something of a cliché, but those of us in the Y-chromosome crowd are inevitably going to be sucked in by the flick and by all accounts W.A.M. does portray H-ton in a good light.

Overall, I'd have to say that this crop of news tilts to the good side, as We Are Marshall stands to generate millions of dollars worth of free publicity for the city and the university and 700 people from the Tristate will be able to put a little more food on the table come next year. These bits of good news more than make up for the failure of a strip mall that could have been seen in and of itself as a failure of a high tech park. Plus, it isn't like the city loses the land or anything. It'll still be there, waiting for the next potential tenant. By the way, I'm rooting for a Skyline Chili.
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2 Comments:

Blogger The Film Geek said...

Like you, I expected Kinetic to be a success, given it's location. I hope it can be, but I've grown more skeptical over the last couple of years.

Terrific commentary, Chris. I'm really enjoying your writing (for whatever the hell that's worth :) .

Wednesday, December 20, 2006  
Blogger the laughing gypsy said...

With a name like Kinetic Park, how could it falter?!

And even though I bear XX chromosomes, i'm a big fan triumph in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity. Even cooler that it takes place in WV. Thanks for telling about it!

Friday, April 27, 2007  

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