Roan honored at Main Street Pineville’s annual Gala

Published 11:56 am Monday, January 22, 2024

By Jay Compton

jay.compton@middlesboronews.com

Main Street Pineville held its eighth annual Gala on Saturday at Pine Mountain State Resort Park. A large crowd of close to 300 people joined several local and state dignitaries for this year’s celebration, which included special recognition for Jacob Roan who started the Gala as a yearly event.

Roan resigned as Main Street Pineville’s director at the end of October to take a position with the city of Corbin. During his time Pineville’s downtown went from being 80-percent empty to 100-percent full of locally owned businesses.

“We do this to reflect on the accomplishments of the last year and to look forward to the coming year. This was Jacob’s idea and it has turned into a major event,” Mayor Scott Madon said. “Jacob is still helping us and he’s been a big help over the years. . . You all know what Jacob has done and his legacy will never be forgotten. He was our Main Street Director for 10 years and we’re going to miss him.”

Madon and Kentucky Main Street Coordinator Kitty Dougoud presented Roan with a plaque in honor of his 10 years of service.

Dougoud asked the crowd to think about what downtown Pineville was like 10 years ago.

“This wasn’t a place where you went downtown,” she said. “Look at the same community today and it’s packed all of the time. Who would have thought there would be seven restaurants in downtown Pineville?

“I could say a whole lot of things about Jacob Roan, the best thing about Jacob is because of him I got to meet all of you. There are not many other places in the state that I can say feel like I’m home. I’ve been to weddings, I’ve held new babies, I’ve been to funerals and you all have accepted me.”

Roan thanked Madon for giving him the opportunity to make such a difference in his hometown.

“The past 10 years have been an absolute pleasure and I will forever be grateful to you for allowing me to learn, make mistakes, grow and excel professionally. Our memories and stories could fill up 100 of these binders and we would still have more stories to tell,” he said.

Roan asked any downtown business owners in attendance to stand.

“Throughout the years Scott and I have received a lot of credit for the transformation Pineville has underwent and while I believe we were able to create and lead an environment that was business-friendly, I want to be clear that the transformation that Pineville has seen is because of your investment in our downtown,” he told them. “Your sweat and your tears are what brought Pineville back from an embarrassing, empty, abandoned old town and transformed it into a small town that  so many people are proud of today.”

Saturday’s event was hosted by the new Main Street Pineville co-directors Tammy Jones, Johnna Callebs and Shannon Elliott. Special guests included the Deputy Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court Debra Hembree Lambert; fellow Bell County native Jaime Claire Corum, a renowned equine artist; State Rep. Adam Bowling and State Senator Johnnie Turner.

Judge Lambert said she was proud of all of the improvements that have been made to Pineville’s downtown.

“It’s wonderful to be able to brag about the area that you’re from,” she said. ““I’m forever convinced that it was just right around here that Daniel Boone made his famous comments that heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place. Really, it’s not the place it’s the people and y’all are the best ambassadors ever. We’re all going to love Pineville always.”

Corum’s noteworthy accomplishments include painting a three-story mural of Secretariat in downtown Paris and having her art displayed on special bottles of Woodford Reserve bourbon.

She said she was a horse-crazy girl growing up near Right Fork Elementary School, but wasn’t able to have a horse of her own.

“What happened was I started drawing horses because I couldn’t have a physical horse. I’m really thankful that my parents told me no, because that began my journey into art and specifically equine art. It was really just a childhood dream of being close to that animal that I loved so much,” she said.

“It has been a wild ride with Secretariat and with the Woodford bottles, but what keeps me grounded and keeps me sane and with a kind of core identity is family and Bell County and this community. It’s just such a beautiful place to be and to call home. Wherever I went and whoever I met I loved to brag on Bell County. Cheers to Pineville and thank you for having me as your guest of honor.”

Bowling, now in his third term representing Bell and Harlan counties, said he hears a lot about Pineville’s Main Street program in Frankfort.

“People stop me and say they’ve heard about Pineville and they want to go and see Pineville. It’s been that way since I got there six years ago,” he said. “You all really set the standard. Once you did it, other cities in southeastern Kentucky saw what you did and said: ‘We can do that, too.’ It’s recognized all across our state and you really be proud of yourselves.”

Bowling added that there were a lot of good things happening in Bell County from Boone’s Ridge to the Flash Steel project in Middlesboro to the streetscape project planned for Pineville’s Courthouse Square.

“We’re working hard to make sure you get those funds so that streetscape project can get finished and make it the crown jewel on top of all the work you’ve done the last several years for your downtown,” he said.