The Owner of the Pretty Penny Cafe has Some Concerns About the Hillsboro RV Park

Continuing our Series about the RV Park to house Pipeline workers in Hillsboro, we interviewed Blair Campbell, owner of the Pretty Penny Café, who does have some concerns over the influx of pipeline workers the park will bring.

“I’m a resident of Hillsboro for many years” said Blair. “And this is a very small town, so when you have a big infrastructure project like that happening, it turns heads and people are wondering what’s going on. I think, though, (the) RV Park is an example of people looking for someone else to come and save us -and that’s my biggest hesitation about embracing it. Because I think we have a lot to offer ourselves as a community. And then cater to these people who may or may not come; who may or may not spend money and may or may not be nice neighbors. It’s disheartening that people don’t invest that here. I hope that it does generate some business and maybe tourists can use it too, and I think that things are good for business. We need more people in this community, but it’s just hard to see it happen this way, because I think people could use their resources in the community to provide better housing or try to come together and create some jobs based on agriculture or other things we could produce in this area without waiting for people to move here from Oklahoma to build a pipeline.”

Do you worry about the kind of pipeline workers that may come here and live in these RVs?

“I certainly am a person who preaches tolerance” Blair answered. “I always worry about any new neighbor and want to know about who somebody is before I meet them. So, I’m certainly not gonna say that all those gentlemen are dangerous, but we do want to know who your new neighbors are going to be. It would be nice to know that you are going to be safe and that there is not going to be n influx of people that live a different lifestyle because of the job that they have.”

Do you expect that this may change Hillsboro?

“Certainly, it will change Hillsboro, how could it not?” I’m hoping it changes it for the better. We all have to be less polarized on these issues and learn what we can do to protect ourselves and really talk about what our fears are and see if those fears are actually valid. It could be really great, and I’m really hopeful for that, but there are some really huge concerns I have.”

I’ve seen your restaurant has a for sale sign on it, does that have anything to do with the RV park?

“Certainly not, my business has been listed on the market with a Realtor since 2015. I’ve got some new signs, but it has never been off the market since we closed originally.”

The Pretty Penny was closed for about how long?

“Three Years.”

How come you reopened it?

“Because of the pipeline. We had some money to invest in the business because the pipeline goes through my farm in Randolph County. So I’ve worked with these people, I’ve negotiated and dealt with these companies. And because of that, I have been able to re-open and fix the place up. And hopefully someone else can come along in the next couple of years and be a steward of this building, because that’s kind of what I am. This is one of the oldest buildings in the County and it has a lot of history, and hopefully pass it along to somebody one day.”

What concerns do you have about the RV park?

“It’s a lot of single men. I have children in this County. And I know they work very hard. We sell alcohol here, people have been saying that a lot -about them being able to come here and drink alcohol. I don’t want to single out single men and make them sound dangerous or scary. My concerns are-it really goes back to people not investing in the community. We don’t know these people, they are not going to stay forever. When I see people, who wanted to move to the County, they have wanted to work for me or they wanted to come here. To put in housing for this temporary situation – that’s the biggest concern I really have. I cannot say that these people are going to be bad for the community. It just doesn’t sit well with me on an economic standpoint -that this is how you are going to choose to better the town.”

Do you think that having the RV park will help or hurt your business?

“I haven’t seen any influx or workers in my business. We definitely serve local people and I’d be happy to accommodate any person who wants to visit my establishment. The Pretty Penny is open for people to come and enjoy a nice glass of wine, some dinner -I really love cooking for people. I’ve been making some really great food lately. Certainly, it’s been deterring to hear the rumors of people saying that this business won’t let pipeliners in. It’s not a boat I want to get in. I am not interested in picking sides.”

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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