Many people living in this town of used-to-be’s don’t expect their community will ever return to its glory days.
They don’t anticipate the return to a downtown of bustling businesses patronized by a well-paid middle class working at the Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel plant. They want a little fresh paint on the vacant buildings, to cover up the sorrows lining the main business district’s ironically named Commerce Street.
And they’re not expecting magic from President Trump.
“All we need is to invest in ourselves with some small businesses up and down the street, and we’ll be fine,” said Rich Grimm, a retired steel worker. Grimm is aspirational, pragmatic about the return of steel or coal jobs, and determined.
Thirty-two former businesses line both sides of Commerce Street. Heading west, two nonprofits and a post office are the only things open on the right-hand side; two bars and a dentist’s office are the only things open on the left.
Grimm sits with five other locals sipping coffee at the Mingo Junction Senior Center. Tom Strohmayer is to his right, Baci Carpico to his left; Fred and Diane Pernick, the husband-and-wife director and secretary of the center, sit across the table with Teresa Elder, at 47 the youngster of the group and the only African-American.
Read the full story here: Trump’s voters have high hopes – even if they don’t expect miracles