Families on Pine Street in Logan, WV plan to move out soon - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Families on Pine Street in Logan, WV plan to move out soon

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Janice Eplin remembers the happy times in her Pine Street home. Janice Eplin remembers the happy times in her Pine Street home.

Beneath bright blue skies a crisp breeze rustled leaves on Pine Street in Logan, WV Wednesday, Dec. 18.

For most of the afternoon the far end of the dead end street was quiet. No vehicles were parked outside of the homes. No one answered knocks on the doors of the few houses there.

The only way to access the houses is to park at the bottom of a hill and walk up.

As you walk past the "Road Closed" sign and up the incline it becomes clear why this street is empty.

A large chunk of the road is missing. Driving a vehicle through, while possible, would be very dangerous.

The road initially slid nearly two years ago following a significant amount of rainfall. After that it slid even more until eventually the road had to be closed.

Logan Mayor Serafino Nolletti said the estimated price to repair the slide and keep the road open was well over $1 million.

Since then residents, many of them in poor health, have had to walk. They walk home with groceries. Resident Janice Eplin said her grandchildren had to be pulled up the hill in a wagon to attend Thanksgiving Dinner.

Since the slide first happened residents have been fighting to get help. They have sent emails, written letters and made numerous trips to Logan City Hall.

Recently they received the news they had been waiting to hear. The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved a waiver that will allow the city to use federal dollars to purchase their homes so that they can move.

Residents are being bought out and asked to move one by one. The homes will be demolished. After everyone is out the road will be permanently closed.

This will be the last Christmas Eplin spends in the house where she raised her family. She moved there when she was 18. That was nearly 50 years ago.

She returned home following a trip to city hall Wednesday afternoon to pick up some paper work she needed to make the sale of her home final.

"Tuesday a week from now my family will all be here," she said. "I have to wrap all of the presents."

Like many people Eplin is scrambling this week to get her home ready for children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"We have dinner, then we come under the tree and open gifts and the grand kids run wild," Eplin said.

A smile comes across her face.

There aren't many of them when she thinks about the move. Just the thought, brings a flood of tears to her eyes.

Eplin's Christmas tree is up in her living room standing on a shiny floor. She and her now deceased husband put about $30,000 worth of work into the house before he passed away. At one time the home belonged to her parents, who have also passed away. She won't be putting the special family ornaments on the tree this Christmas.

"I just left them in a box because I am not using them this year," Eplin said.

She plans to leave the tree behind when she moves. She said she is also going to allow the grand kids to make more of a mess than she would normally tolerate.

They will be taking more pictures this year too.

"There are a lot of memories in that house," Eplin said, grabbing a tissue to wipe her tears.

It is those memories that make walking away so difficult.

But she said she knows it is the only safe choice.

"My kids and grand kids are used to this place," she said. "They'll have to get used to another place."

She is planning to move to Chapmanville or Madison. She expects to be moving out of the house by January 2014.

The home right in front of the slide will have to be demolished so that a temporary road can be built providing access for the others to move their belongings.  

That homeowner, Debbie Lee, purchased a new mobile home Wednesday with the money she received from selling her house on Pine Street. She and her family are looking forward to putting the situation behind them.