It's been a hot topic in Norwalk for years.
Not the limited parking uptown or the overabundance of stray cats, but the lack of major sit-down chain restaurants.
Norwalk Economic Development Director Bethany Dentler announced last week that Applebee's, along with a larger Bob Evans restaurant, will open near Premiere Theaters on U.S. 250 north in Norwalk. Both are slated to open sometime during the summer.
We've asked for it, and now we've got it.
Both restaurants will be located on U.S. 250 where the Batesville Caskets currently stands. Batesville's new building further back in the development should be complete by mid-December, Dentler said. Once the company's operation has been moved to the new facility, the old building will be dismantled and removed.
A new street will be built leading from U.S. 250 directly back to the theater on the site of the old building. The larger Bob Evans will be on the north side of the new street and Applebee's will be on the south side.
Dentler said a number of retailers have been "waiting in the wings" for these restaurants to be built, because they also see "the great potential in the Norwalk market."
This is great news for Norwalk, especially the north side of town where Pride One is developing Norwalk Commons. The plans for the development are to have senior housing, shops and restaurants to go along with the eight-screen movie theater.
Along with the news of the new restaurants, which was announced at the annual Norwalk Economic Development Corp. (NEDC) investor's luncheon, NEDC Advisory Board President Chuck Furey said so far this year "22 companies expanded in Norwalk, creating 230 new jobs and investing over $30 million." Furey said 12 of those companies worked with NEDC during their expansions.
Any good news is great during these tough economic times, and we applaud the NEDC for everything it does bringing new businesses to town and promoting the businesses we already have.