Man Town Councilmember John Fekete sees some major things coming to the Man area following over a decade of growth thanks to community leaders, the influx of tourists and a new modern highway that will connect Man to the rest of the region in a faster and safer path than old Route 10.
Fekete has spent four years on the Man Town Council, 13 years with the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority and was very active in the community prior to that. Fekete is a founding member of the Town of Man Parks and Recreation Board where he has been active in helping keep the town’s swimming pool up and running and growing. Fekete hopes to increase the hours at the pool this summer.
“The first year I was on the council, the pool was left to the town,” he explained. “Mayor Blevins and the council put together a Park Board and we now have a pool with a playground and a walking park. This year we will also be installing a Basketball court. The pool is something that keeps growing and expanding and if anybody is interested in working as a Lifeguard this summer, they can drop off a resume at Town Hall.”
Fekete said local elected officials like Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Sen. Art Kirkendoll and the members of the Logan County Commission along with local businesses have been big supporters of the town and the pool and have made many good things possible for the residents of the Man area.
“We could not have done it without them, and our businesses like McDonald Land Company, Cliff’s Resources and Logan Bank and Trust,” he said, noting the pool was built in 1972 and in the summer provides healthy recreation to 50-100 kids a day.
“Something huge will be coming to the town with this new four-lane highway,” Fekete said of the new Route 10 project on Feb. 19. “People will be able to get to our town a lot quicker when it is completed, and we need to prepare for that now, not later. If we wait until after the four-lane is built a lot of opportunity will pass us by.”
Fekete said he wants to see the towns civic leaders, elected officials and business community work together to make the most of what the new road will make possible.
Fekete was the guest speaker for the Lions Club of Logan on Feb. 19 where he spoke about the Town of Man and the world famous Hatfield-McCoy Trails. One of the hotter topics in Man remains the proposal for annexation, Fekete said, noting that originally the idea came to the town council when several school employees approached the town about coming into city limits. An incident had happened at the High School and when the state police and sheriff’s department were contacted no help was able to get there for two hours due to traffic problems at that time. Ironically the Man Police Department was right by but unable to help due to being outside their jurisdiction.
Several different attempts at annexation were tried and failed, but the idea came up again recently and will be decided by the voters. The current annexation proposal would include South Hensley Heights to the Middle School.
“If we are going to grow, this would help us, and it would provide police service to an area that has traditionally been remote at times,” he said.
“We will be having an election sometime between the next three to six months,” Fekete said. “The election will be in the hands of the people.”
Fekete said there is a lot of interest about possible development at the old Man Community Hospital lot, but noted that he would prefer to see a critical care emergency healthcare treatment facility located there to serve the citizens of Man, Buffalo Creek and Gilbert. “That is a very wide area, and currently people have to travel to Logan or Williamson,” Fekete noted.
Fekete said the town of Man could also use additional lodging facilities for tourists and visitors, explaining that Hatfield-McCoy is selling over 30,000 visitor’s permits a year and current available lodging in Man and nearby Logan is often maxed out.
Fekete said there could be other things built to draw people to the towns of Southern West Virginia from Zip-Lines to Coal Mine exhibitions.
“It is a shame that we are in the middle of Coal Country and yet, my son had to go to Beckley to see an exhibition mine,” Fekete said.
He noted the town faced a major blow when it lost fellow Councilman Darrell Mangrum, who had been a vital part of town hall on and off for many years as well as a beloved figure in the Man community.
“The whole community will miss him, and everybody on the council misses him. He worked so hard for our area on so many projects. He was a great person.”