The hopes and dreams of generations of Chester residents came one step closer to reality last week with a ceremony to mark the beginning of demolition work at the old Taylor, Smith and Taylor pottery property.
For the last few decades, the site has sat, for the most part, unused, the once-proud building that provided a workplace for hundreds crumbling in on itself and creating a hazard for those around it.
With the demolition, the property has a great deal of potential and an opportunity to provide some new life for the Chester community. Many ideas are being circulated for its future use, and only time will tell what will make its home there, but for now, we are sure it is a relief to see the wrecking ball moving.
A great deal of thanks must be given to all those involved in this project, including Pat Ford, Marvin Six and all those with the Business Development Corp., the Hancock County Commission, local legislators and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who will be the last governor to see the crumbling remains of the pottery.
They have all provided a great deal of leadership and direction in moving this project forward.
The greatest recognition must go to the residents of Chester themselves, all those who have lived in the shadow of the TS&T site for the last 30 years and who have worked tirelessly over those decades to bring attention to this issue and their dream.
These residents, including Mayor Ken Morris, Chester City Council and the members of the Rock Springs Riverfront Redevelopment Committee, have been the true driving force in reaching this point, working with the BDC and government leaders to acquire the funding and permits and put together a plan for the future.
It could still be some time before we see the full benefits of this work, with new businesses and jobs being created for the community, but the Northern Panhandle is closer to reaching that dream than ever before.