CHIPLEY — Ronald McDonald will be homeless in Chipley for a couple of months.
The Chipley City Council discussed the plans to rebuild the McDonald’s Restaurant from the ground up during Thursday’s council workshop at City Hall.
The project development order was recommended for approval by the city planning commission on March 28, and the council will vote whether or not to approve the request during Tuesday’s city council meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.
The McDonald’s is located at 1291 Main Street and the rebuild will also allow for a redesign of the parking lot, which has had traffic issues.
“If you pull out of the restaurant and try to turn left on Brickyard Aveune, you cause all kinds of problems,” City Administrator Dan Miner said. Getting in the drive-in lane from Main Street is also difficult due to traffic.
McDonald’s USA LLC plans to demolish the existing fast food restaurant along with all parking facilities and storm water management facilities, then reconstruct a new restaurant as well as parking facilities and storm water management facilities.
“There will be a retention pond where the play area is now,” said Jason Toole, an engineer with CPH Engineers Inc. of Panama City. “There will not be a play area at the new restaurant.”
Miner said the retention pond may help with flooding that occurs at the intersection.
Toole said the entrance from Main Street will be relocated south toward the Goodwill Industries parking lot. Construction on the project is expected to begin in June, Toole said, and should take 90 to 120 days to complete.
“Where will I get my sweet tea while McDonald’s is closed?” joked council member Karen Rustin.
Rustin also gave council member Kevin Russell some artists’ renderings of a possible veterans memorial, which could be incorporated into the planned city park that will be located where the city water tower is currently located.
The mayor created a committee in March for the design of the park. Once the old tower is demolished, the committee will be charged with developing a historical site.
Russell is chairman of the committee, will includes Darrin Wall, Valerie Parks, Dorothy Odom and Jim Morris.
The council voted on March 7 to pursue taking down the old water tower after discovering that it would cost nearly $200,000 to bring the structure back up to code, and learning the roof of the tower has rusted loose and is just sitting atop the structure.
Demolition of the tower is expected to cost $24,000.
Miner told the council on Thursday that the demolition project was running into some obstacles. The Department of Transportation is requesting that the water tower be torn down in the evenings for traffic safety, and the city will also have to hire a traffic management engineering firm.
The company the city planned on hiring to do the demolition is not wanting to do a night time demolition, Miner said.
“If this winds up costing a lot more, we will probably want to go back and get some bids on the job,” Miner said.