Chillicothe residents do not want new business in their backyard

By WEEK Reporter

April 2, 2014 Updated Apr 8, 2014 at 5:35 PM CDT

CHILLICOTHE, Ill. -- The City of Chillitcothe could be welcoming a new business to a vacant area.

The old Pizza Hut on Fourth Street has been empty for two years. Now, a resturant with a full service bar could be moving in.

City officials say the new restaurant would create jobs and spur economic growth, but neighboring residents say--"not in my backyard."

"The new business that's proposed to go here is just wholly different," said Chillicothe resident Tazio Grivetti who lives directly behind the vacant building. "They want to have an outdoor patio area with smokers, eaters and drinkers right here outside my backyard.""

"There's a big difference between a Class C liquor license and a full service bar," said Mary Jo Schettler who owns neighboring residential property. "The proposed spot is right in the middle of this neighborhood, right in the middle of an area with lots of kids. It's going to be loud. It's also going to decrease the value of our property."

However, plans for the new restaurant are already on the way. The potential owners are asking the city for a loan ranging from $114,000-$140,000. It's already passed the prerequisites for city council approval.

"It's based on job creation. You're able to get $10,000 for every full time job that's created," said Chillicothe Economic Development Director Rachael Parker.

Some residents feel shut out of the process.

"The city officials that we talked to at the meeting don't seem to be representing us or caring about the concerns we care about," said neighboring resident Wes Green.

However, city officials say a new restaurant would spur economic growth--especially since near-by business, The Chillibowl, is set to close by the end of April. The Chillibowl chef, Sandy Luckett, plans to take 14 current employees to the old Pizza Hut location and open the now-controversial restaurant.

Her husband Dennis Luckett says they will try their best to compromise with the neighboring residents. While Luckett intends to have a full bar, that bar would only be open late on weekends. The beer garden patio would also be built in a location away from residential areas.

Neighboring residents say it's still too close to home.

"If it was anywhere else, I'd be there every day to support it, but this is just not the right place," said Schettler.

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