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Restaurant will fill a former Baker building

Staff writer

Peabody Economic Development Director Shane Marler announced to the city council Monday night that Toni Chapman of Peabody will open a new restaurant at 115 N. Walnut St., the southern-most building of the former Baker complex.

Aiming for a September opening, the establishment will be a family-style restaurant serving primarily Mexican food. Chapman also will offer specialty dishes with Italian, Chinese, and South American emphasis.

The restaurant, Mendoza’s, will be open for lunch and supper.

“Toni and Peabody Economic Development have been working on this for several months,” Marler said. “She looked at a couple of buildings before selecting the one at 115 Walnut.

“Her business plan and financing are in order and she is ready to begin work on remodeling and getting her equipment in.”

He said that Chapman hopes to create a destination restaurant that will attract customers from surrounding communities.

“By building her menu around cuisine not readily available at every other restaurant in the area, she hopes to fill a void and keep people coming to Mendoza’s,” Marler said.

The buildings, formerly occupied by Baker Furniture and Carpet, have been empty for more than a year. The city purchased the buildings in March in an effort to save them and use them as a tool for economic development downtown.

In other business:

  • Brad Shaw protested a water bill for the residence he recently purchased at 112 N. Maple St. Shaw had the water service put in his name, but did not immediately use any. Because of the billing cycle, he was charged the minimum of $64 even though the statement noted that no water was used. The council canceled the charges.
  • The council agreed to pay one-half of the charges on five reflective nametags for firefighters’ coats and two pair of bunker pants. The amount approved was $698.
  • Marler requested an executive session with the city council to discuss trade secrets. The council took no action on return to open meeting.
  • Dale Clark of Knudson and Monroe reviewed the annual city audit with the council. Clark warned that fund balances have been dropping drastically; that they are down about $100,000 between 2009 and 2010. He cautioned the council to watch the balances carefully.
  • Marler told the council that PMSA had received a grant from the state Main Street program to pay for emergency rehabilitation of the Baker building roofs to keep rainwater from causing further damage to the buildings’ interiors. Mahaney Roofing finished the project July 1.
  • City Administrator Mac Manning noted that he heard from numerous citizens about the 10 p.m. cutoff for shooting fireworks July 4. He felt that everyone thought changing the time was ineffective since the fireworks show was going on at 10 p.m. and there was no enforcement of the rule later for people shooting fireworks at home. The council took no action.
  • Council members went into executive session to discuss personnel issues, but took no action on return to open meeting.

The next city council meeting will be July 25 at 7 p.m. in the council room of Peabody City Building.

Last modified July 14, 2011

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