Media Archive

Meet me at The Junction

Article from Bangor Daily News, Saturday, March 04, 2006

By From Perspective page of the Bangor Daily News

Brothers return home to revive Penquis region community center

Bob McCarthy spends his weekends as a nurse in a Boston hospital but relishes the time he spends weekdays hanging out at The Junction.

McCarthy, who moved to Brownville Junction in June from the Boston area, said the region is lucky to have The Junction - a place that offers good food, companionship and entertainment.

"I start off my day here hanging out with the guys; it's nice and relaxing and I learn a lot about the history of the town," McCarthy said recently.

For young and old in the Penquis region, The Junction has become a destination and that's exactly what brothers Don Belvin, 35, and John Belvin, 41, had in mind when they purchased the then-neglected and vacant building and 70 acres of land located on Route 11 three years ago.

Today, the brothers have transformed the building into a community center complete with a convenience store, restaurant, sporting goods store, clean restrooms, and a place for entertainment ranging from dances to auctions to weddings.

The Belvins, both Penquis Valley High School graduates, also constructed an 18-by-32-foot amphitheater on land behind the store for outdoor concerts and other functions, and they offer primitive camping on the grounds.

While raised in the community, both men left the state after graduation to find good jobs and both ended up in management at major building supply chains. Don, a musician, also played bass and sang in Nashville, Tenn. They both married nurses, settled down and had families, but they always longed for their hometown, they said.

"We'd come back from vacation and say, 'What are we doing,'" John Belvin recalled during a recent interview. On each visit home they would eye the vacant property formerly known as KC's Place and dream of owning it. Three years ago, they decided to turn their dream into a reality, so they purchased the property and began remodeling and building.

"It's a dream and we're living it," John Belvin said. "It's also nice to be home."

Not once did it trouble Don and John Belvin and their wives, Coleen and Kristine, that they were investing their life savings in a region economically distressed. "All communities have got to get together, sacrifice and work for it," Don Belvin said. The couples have faith, they said, that the region will prosper because of the beauty it offers. "This is a gem in the rough - this is the last frontier," John Belvin said, noting the closeness of Gulf Hagas and Mount Katahdin.

Both men also hold out hope that WHG Development carries through with its plan to build a high-end resort featuring a four-star hotel, convention center, golf course, three restaurants and 400 time-share units about two miles from their business.

"Development that is done the right way won't hurt," John Belvin said. The jobs that are spawned by that development will bolster the economy, helping all the local businesses, he added.

Meanwhile, the Belvins hope to share their energy with local investors so they can continue to improve and expand the property. In the plans are rental cabins and a small motel for visitors.

They also have plans for some special offerings in the next several months. The Junction will offer dinner and entertainment on March 18 to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

This summer, the Belvins plan to hold big "backyard" parties on June 30 with a performance by an Aerosmith tribute band and on July 1 when an Eagles tribute band from Boston performs.

"Our goal is to leave the town and community better than we found it," John Belvin said.

"Content above originated in the edition noted as a copyrighted article and is posted here with permission of the Bangor Daily News."

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.