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Lost

Oakvale, WV

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#1
Jul 25, 2009
 
Could someone please inform me of what the signs in town refer to as 100 years of progress? I'm a former resident of the Princeton area and was truly amazed when I went back a few weeks ago to see family and those signs have been on my mind ever since. I remember growing up as most of you do and having things to go do with my friends. Those things never involved drugs, etc. and from what I hear now drugs are rampant in the area among the youth, which is troubling. I had told my wife about the days in high school of going cruising in town with friends and was going to show her. Well, what I found was a bit of that progress they are so proud of: it was Saturday night and no one was in town. I know they had tried fighting it for 40 years so now the city can be proud of the fact they ran off kids from what was for the most part a harmless activity that at least brought some life to downtown. Curiously, no businesses were open downtown, so "cleansing" the crusier problem didn't bring any business to the area except for a bar on Mercer Street. Also, I learned the town stopped the annual 4th of July celebration of fireworks a year ago because they "didn't want that kind of crowd." I can remember as a kid what a big deal watching the fireworks were and as a teen getting a group of friends together and hanging out watching them. Then I heard they had stopped Princeton Summerfest, which also had been a big gathering to get people out with their families. Other pieces of that progress I suppose? In these tough times, I would argue the turnouts would probably be even better since people are staying closer to home rather than going out of town for a bit of leisure. I'm really lost about these things. The only progress I really found in the Princeton area was outside the city limits. The areas of growth have been around the Interstate area as well as Green Valley and 460 itself. I was startled by the differences in Princeton and Beckley when I had a business trip that I had to go there for a few weeks ago. The Beckley area has really grown with growth not only on the Interstate exits, but in town as well. A new theater, new places to eat, a large new shopping center, etc. all in town on Eisenhower drive. Additionally, Beckley was crowded while in a similar time Princeton was a ghost town. I read this week about the Friends of Coal Autofair that happened there and what a big turn out it was including a concert with the lead singer of Alabama performing, so I guess they don't mind the crowds. It all boils down to this, I'm proud of where I'm from and wouldn't mind moving back sometime in the future, but could someone please explain to me the progress because over the past few years it seems more like regress than progress. Thanks.
Merely Me

Wytheville, VA

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#2
Jul 25, 2009
 
I get a kick out of that sign every time I go to Princeton. They got rid of cruisers and replaced them with prostitutes and druggies.

Sure there were problems when cruising was happening, but they finally got what they wanted when they run it off and mercer street turned into a total sh*th0le ever since.

The powers that be in Princeton have likely done damage to the town that may never be repaired. Add in a slumping economy to the horrible decisions made by the supervisors and you have a recipe for failure.

I hate even driving through Princeton these days so rarely get off of I-77 on trips through to Athens or Bluefield when I have to be in that area, unless it is 100% unavoidable.
transplant

Beckley, WV

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#3
Jul 26, 2009
 
I believe that crusing still happens but when the gas prices got higher it did seem to drop off.
Princeton celebrates with a augustfest. to help people come see the railroad museum. I know when things change when you dont live at home anymore always always make you sad. We like to remember home as it was not as it is. Plus when we get older we see things differently.
I have lived here 25 years and have seen alot of growth in Princeton. where Krogers sits today was a swamp, they use to be in the Big Lots building. No Walmart shopping area. One hotel. No, applebees, wendys,cracker barrel on 460, no chilis,starbucks, plus lowes has moved three times in the last 15 years.
hospital got bigger, Pharmacys got bigger and we have 2 of them now plus the family owned ones. Princeton High on stafford did not exsist. none of the resturants on stafford either. there was a steak house on old oakvale road, that is now a car lot and totally unrecognizable (sp) plus more car lots. I think Princeton should be labelled CAR CITY.. 460 to the mall wasnt there either. had to drive old prin-bluefeild road.Post office moved but we will problby see that close their hours arent accomadating anyways.
there is alot of growth, I believe that is what the city is talking about when they say Progress.

Level 4

Since: Apr 08

Rock, WV.

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#4
Jul 26, 2009
 
What amused me in this thread was the first writer comparing Princeton and Beckley. Most of the business's that were mentioned on Eisenhower Drive aren't in the city limits either. So much for that comparison. As for Mercer Street, the whores and junkies were there when cruising was the big thing. Beckley also has the same problems. The big thing Beckley has that Princeton doesn't is Nicky Joe funneling money into the area.
Me Too

Beaver, WV

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#5
Jul 26, 2009
 
To "transplant"... Most of the business that you mention are actually outside the city limits of Princeton. The city officials do not make it appealing for business to come into this city.

To "Graybeard"... You are mistaken sir, the business listed on Eisenhower Drive are indeed in the city limits. There is a fire station just down the street from those places. Beckley routinely does boundry adjustments to bring new areas into the city limits. Princeton hasn't done that in a long time.

I have no idea why Princeton has never tried to bring the Oakvale Road/Ambrose Lane/Walmart area into the city limits. The businesses would benefit from lower fire insurance and better police protection.
transplant

Beckley, WV

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#6
Jul 26, 2009
 
Oh I know that most are outside of city limits that I mentioned. actually there was nothing outside city limits 25 years ago. lets see, schewels, long johns, autozone, the other parts store,cvs,all of krogers shopping mall, the High school, princeton baseball,hunicutt field just swamp arbys,walgreens, big lots,sonic,civic center, both banks on stafford, although they exsisted on mercer and around the courthouse, rite aid, john eye. although they are barely outside the limits, most the stores on roger st werent there gas stations sure. no oil changing, car washes. nothing on locust, now we have dentist, eye docs,hair salon, I do remember southern states on 2nd street. bought dog food there once.
oh and yes the hookers are not new...
believe me I have seen growth in the last 25 years..
transplant

Beckley, WV

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#7
Jul 26, 2009
 
to ME TOO..
they want to take in oakvale road, city veiw heights, boulder park and lilly grove...but I believe and I may be worng on this, but the people who live in those areas do have the right too vote if they want to be taken into the city. Its been rumored for years that it was going to happen, thats why walmart and lowes moved to there they are, so that they don't have to pay the B&O city tax. It would be great if that was erased off the books. small businesses may have a chance. plus with more people living in the limits the head count is larger and that is the one thing business move in to twons for. 7000 residents wont bring in big businesses but 20,000 residents is a bigger buying power. more people more businesses.

Level 4

Since: Apr 08

Rock, WV.

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#8
Jul 26, 2009
 
Me Too wrote:
To "Graybeard"... You are mistaken sir, the business listed on Eisenhower Drive are indeed in the city limits. There is a fire station just down the street from those places. Beckley routinely does boundry adjustments to bring new areas into the city limits. Princeton hasn't done that in a long time.
You're right, I was shocked to see how much area they have taken in. The reason I think Princeton hasn't annexed is the residents in the outlying areas don't see a great advantage to being in the town and will block it. Bottom line is the Princeton area has seen much progress over the years. If you want a comparison, just look at the Bluefield area. Even Ray Charles could see Princeton is growing and Bluefield is withering away. I think cruising just basically died a natural death. The newer generations found different things to do than waste lots of gas making about one round per hour on Mercer Street.
Lost

Oakvale, WV

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#9
Jul 26, 2009
 
Maybe I truly am not seeing the point being made by the other people commenting, but the growth or progress has all taken place out of town and basically to serve the needs of those on the Interstate. The areas we are talking about in Beckley were already annexed before the businesses located there, so they didn't move to a certain location to avoid the city as they have done in Princeton.

Also, I had forgotten about The Dean Company closing a few years back and still little effort made to find a solid business to replace it. Since leaving after I graduated college, the only real "growth" I could see was the new Walgreens and Sonic in town and a mostly under-used Mathena Center (which I have to say looked very nice). Other than that, the Kroger remodel is now 10+ years old, the "new" McDonalds is 10 years old on Stafford, the "new" banks were all built around 2000-01, etc.

As for the cruising issue, it has been replaced by other things and from what I've at least heard and the little bits I've those things aren't the most desirable as the second person commenting said. However calling it a natural death, putting signs up that made it illegal to drive on certain streets during some hours for years, excessive patrols, etc. certainly played their roles in providing that "natural" end.

Comparing Princeton to Bluefield though is very intersting. You can still buy a new car and new motorcycle in Bluefield (Cole Chevy, Cole HD, and up till recently T&T), they are home to a sizeable accounting firm (Brown Edwards), home of a bank headquarters (First Century--remember First Community relocated to Bluefield, VA a fews back leaving Princeton), etc. So, I would argue with you that Bluefield has done a better job in keeping businesses in town than Princeton.

The Princeton community seems to remain a nicer place than Bluefield, but those businesses have stayed in town while similar businesses have left Princeton over the years. You have to remember at one time Princeton was home to First Community Bank, had Tom Welch Chevrolet, Bondurant Oldsmobile, and if I remember correctly Gibbs Pontiac was located inside city limits (I may be wrong on that one), but all have left and nothing has replaced them.

Nevertheless this was supposed to be more about the people, so I'm making an assumption though that the people simply don't care about things like the July 4th celebration ending and just in general the loss of civic activity?
Lost

Oakvale, WV

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#10
Jul 26, 2009
 

Judged:

1

BTW...I'm just trying to see where people are coming from. I realize things have changed drastically in 100 years. I am not blind to that, but it would appear to me the last 10-20 years have been a large amount of regression. I would simply think everyone would like to see people out and involved in things, in town, without going to Beckley or Bluefield to watch a movie, buy a car, whatever. That's where I'm lost and it just seems like little effort is being made to change that in Princeton.
omg

Bluefield, WV

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#11
Jul 26, 2009
 
do we even have the funding necessary to make all the changes that beckley and charleston have?
transplant

Beckley, WV

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#12
Jul 27, 2009
 
Well, I moved my small business from oakvale road into the city of princeton 3 years ago, I have been open for almost 17 years now. I do wish they would get rid of the B&O tax. that can be a killer for businesses to come into the state none the less the city. I have seen my business grow to me that is progress.
now about the gibbs motors lot, think that is over by the hospital, its been so long since it has been open. the company that owns it wont allow another car lot to buy the land as in keeping the compatition away. that lot isnt owned my the city that is up to the owners what can go there. the same as too the property across from that lot, the owners allow mulch to be sold from there but, again wont allow certain businesses to fill those lots.
I would like to see three blocks of Mercer street bricked and blocked from through traffic so that some small businesses and even banks could fill those empty buildings. people could stroll along a visit the stores you could have bike and foot patrols. which would at least send the hookers packing to at least the end of mercer st maybe to the bridge. Hey that gas station and hair salon on mercer are still growing and are newer. muffler city moved over to rogers st.
Growth is seen in what interest us. If big business is what your looking for if you dont have the roads for excess there isnt any business coming your way.

Level 4

Since: Apr 08

Rock, WV.

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#13
Jul 27, 2009
 
Growth is there, as the above poster said, you just have to look for it. The Chuck Mathena Center is doing fine. We're not a metropolitan area so we shouldn't expect it to be having events continually. As for new business in town, there's the Bronze Look, a unique business that seems to be doing fine. Curl up and Dye is relatively new and seems to be booming. Sisters coffeehouse isn't real new, but has only been in their new location for a year. It's a great place to have a coffee and relax. The new courthouse annex is right across the street, a definite improvement. Bike Works on First street may not sell new Harleys, but they get a big part of service work after new owners get a taste of Cole's service dept. In the near future the library will be moving into the old post office which will bring more folks to Mercer Street. Concerning the fireworks, the city claimed it was a hazard for the hospital because of all the congestion it created in that neighborhood. Valid point? I guess that depends on your point of view. Speaking of the hospital, the womens center is first class, and the health and fitness center is by far the best facility of that type in southern WV.
Lost

Oakvale, WV

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#14
Jul 27, 2009
 
Well, hey its not for me to judge about the town's growth. Although, in the earlier comparisons to Bluefield (and Beckley) both cities have 4-year colleges-universities in town, while Princeton does not. Just a side point I had forgotten to mention before.

Anyways, if everyone is happy, I'm happy for them. I realize its all a matter of what people are wanting. In my humble opinion, it would appear to me Beckley has been far more successful in attracting and retaining businesses, both in town and near town.

I'll even grant that a large portion of the growth on Eisenhower in Beckley has been service related jobs, but jobs are jobs. Also, the shear number of people that seem to be out in Beckley that I witnessed myself as well as from talking with my family was quiet impressive compared to Princeton. I would think it would be a good thing to see people out socializing and having things to do, maybe its not; maybe its not in Princeton atleast.

Maybe I still really don't get this whole deal about the crowds though on the 4th of July. That simply does not make any sense to me. I can remember the turnouts and yes congestion that happened. But, have the people making that argument never been anywhere else and seen real traffic? I'm in Charlotte a lot and I've been there and had to sit in traffic for hours, day after day, but they are quiet proud of its growth and they seem to deal with it. So, Princeton has congestion for one evening a year and can't handle it? At minimum, does that not sound strange to others there?

The part that should truly bother everyone though is this growth all of you speak of, very little of is generating any type of work. Especially any that may help keep the very graduates from Princeton Senior High School to be able to stay in town for work. I am thankful that I was able to get a quality education and also to go to school at Concord, but it saddens me that just like 30 years earlier with my parents generation; I too had to leave to find any type of career. At least in their middle-older years they were able to move back and my father find quality work, though mom never did. The sad part is those opportunities were few and far between then and ever fewer today it seems to me.

Nevertheless, if the people are happy, then I hope they can celebrate on this 100th anniversary. Congratulations :)
transplant

Beckley, WV

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#15
Jul 28, 2009
 
I believe Princeton is trying to be a retirement community a place to come back too.
Athens has a University, Bluefields college is doing alright. Putting out some great Grads.
But again I remember reading some time ago that Princeton and bluefield were wanting to be classified as retirement communities.
Plus where is aPrinceton going to put a big business other than shopping. Labor involved businesses need space that seems to be an issue.
7000 people live in city of princeton and what 20,000 live in beckley.

But I do not agree with the missing 4th of July fireworks its missing americana. they just need to find a better place to have them.
Level 1

Since: Jul 08

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#16
Jul 28, 2009
 
transplant wrote:
I believe that crusing still happens but when the gas prices got higher it did seem to drop off.
Princeton celebrates with a augustfest. to help people come see the railroad museum. I know when things change when you dont live at home anymore always always make you sad. We like to remember home as it was not as it is. Plus when we get older we see things differently.
I have lived here 25 years and have seen alot of growth in Princeton. where Krogers sits today was a swamp, they use to be in the Big Lots building. No Walmart shopping area. One hotel. No, applebees, wendys,cracker barrel on 460, no chilis,starbucks, plus lowes has moved three times in the last 15 years.
hospital got bigger, Pharmacys got bigger and we have 2 of them now plus the family owned ones. Princeton High on stafford did not exsist. none of the resturants on stafford either. there was a steak house on old oakvale road, that is now a car lot and totally unrecognizable (sp) plus more car lots. I think Princeton should be labelled CAR CITY.. 460 to the mall wasnt there either. had to drive old prin-bluefeild road.Post office moved but we will problby see that close their hours arent accomadating anyways.
there is alot of growth, I believe that is what the city is talking about when they say Progress.
the place is dead!the man knows what hes talking about! "concerned citizens" and crooked cops as well as those that have successfully turned the whole area into a old folks home! you take away everything young people have to do and wonder why they either leave or turn to drugs!
Dean Company Rockwell

Beckley, WV

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#17
Jul 28, 2009
 
What about
North American Rockwell Building
The Dean Company
The Pepsi Plant
Strother Drug Company
All the business up and down Mercer Street that are no longer there?
Barbako's (spelling)
Nelsons
Santons
The Stag
Lynch's
The Lavon and Mercer Theaters
What about the cost of doing business inside the city of Princeton. What about the city taxing businesses with B&O taxes and not compromising, when other locations will? Even Doctors, Lawyers and Cosmetologists must pay a % off the top. What about the county and state tax structures? Are they business friendly?
What about the coruption in the government offices? The have this guy do your work and I won't write this up under code enforcement. Or the Health Inspectors that go to restaurants writing one up for something and turning a blind eye at the next location.
It's just a small town, because the citizens love it and call it home it survives. It will not thrive again until all of the old guard is gone and new blood is allowed to come in and make changes.
The Dean Company should be open right now manufacturing wind mills or solar panels. Rockwell could be making boards for the same. Princeton and Mercer county should be hiring grant writers and bringing alternative energy businesses in with Federal Dollars that are available. These locations could help the
RailRoad too, by utilizing it for shipping.
When your biggest employers are the board of education and the hospital, something is wrong!
Closed doors, closed minds. Do you really think that there would be as many hookers on Mercer Street if there were better jobs available? I am sure that they did not grow up saying I want to be a prostitute when I grow up, it's just they do not really have an alternative. The dope is in every town, but we could do more with our kids in the prevention arena. You know I heard there is a man in Iaeger who gave all high school students with perfect attendence $500 at the end of the year. Yes,$500 each, perfect attendence was way up. Set records!
The citizens have what they want, the same people running the same things for years on end.
And why would I want to live in Mercer County, because it's home, it's where my family is, it's where my friends are. I just wish it was better here.
Princeton Industry

Beckley, WV

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#18
Jul 28, 2009
 
Let's see
Private Industries that have grown in the past 10-years.
Churches
Banks
Level 1

Since: Jul 08

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#19
Jul 28, 2009
 
Dean Company Rockwell wrote:
What about
North American Rockwell Building
The Dean Company
The Pepsi Plant
Strother Drug Company
All the business up and down Mercer Street that are no longer there?
Barbako's (spelling)
Nelsons
Santons
The Stag
Lynch's
The Lavon and Mercer Theaters
What about the cost of doing business inside the city of Princeton. What about the city taxing businesses with B&O taxes and not compromising, when other locations will? Even Doctors, Lawyers and Cosmetologists must pay a % off the top. What about the county and state tax structures? Are they business friendly?
What about the coruption in the government offices? The have this guy do your work and I won't write this up under code enforcement. Or the Health Inspectors that go to restaurants writing one up for something and turning a blind eye at the next location.
It's just a small town, because the citizens love it and call it home it survives. It will not thrive again until all of the old guard is gone and new blood is allowed to come in and make changes.
The Dean Company should be open right now manufacturing wind mills or solar panels. Rockwell could be making boards for the same. Princeton and Mercer county should be hiring grant writers and bringing alternative energy businesses in with Federal Dollars that are available. These locations could help the
RailRoad too, by utilizing it for shipping.
When your biggest employers are the board of education and the hospital, something is wrong!
Closed doors, closed minds. Do you really think that there would be as many hookers on Mercer Street if there were better jobs available? I am sure that they did not grow up saying I want to be a prostitute when I grow up, it's just they do not really have an alternative. The dope is in every town, but we could do more with our kids in the prevention arena. You know I heard there is a man in Iaeger who gave all high school students with perfect attendence $500 at the end of the year. Yes,$500 each, perfect attendence was way up. Set records!
The citizens have what they want, the same people running the same things for years on end.
And why would I want to live in Mercer County, because it's home, it's where my family is, it's where my friends are. I just wish it was better here.
agree 100%!
crybaby

United States

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#20
Jul 28, 2009
 
It's true Beckley has had more business growth, but has anyone noticed on the news that their crime rate has also grown more? I also came back to Princeton after retirement and I wouldn't want to live in Beckley.

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