Salem City Council Clears Final Agreements for New Denny's

City Manager Hopeful Representatives Who Want to Turn Old Selmaville North School Into a Theater Will Be Monday's Council Meeting

The Salem City Council has approved the sale of land and a development agreement to clear the final hurdles for a new Denny's Restaurant to locate in front of the Holiday Inn Express in Salem.

The action came at a special city council meeting Tuesday night. City Manager Bill Gruen says the agreement is with the franchise, WKS, who is currently seeking construction bids on the project with plans to begin construction in the spring.

"The city is going to receive $175,000 for the sale of the land. That will be put to use potentially in another project that we talk about in the near future. The $170,000 that the city is helping out with the street, construction and the fence replacement is coming out of our revolving loan fund."

Gruen says WKS is seeking area contractors for the project. They must have restaurant construction experience and have at least $1-million dollars in liability insurance. Interested contractors can contact Salem City Hall for more information.

Meanwhile, Gruen says he's still hopeful the proposed developers of the new theater in the old Selmaville North School will be in attendance at Monday's regular city council meeting.

"We've asked that they be here Monday night. They haven't responded yet to say that they can. After sending them the draft development agreement and the asbestos report, I haven't heard anything from them that everything in those two documents are in order. I really wanted to get this done Monday, if it happens great, but if not then we will keep on chugging."

Gruen says the project has had more open discussion than most because of the city's consideration of using some of the closeout money from the low-interest revolving loan fund for the work.

"The movie theater project is not a definite. I'm optimistic that it's going to work. We haven't gotten the final approval from the developer yet but I'm optimistic it will come together."

Gruen says work is continuing on finalizing low interest revolving loan funds for expansion of the Salem Theater and improvements to the Salem Community Center. He reports there are questions if all the hurdles can be crossed before the December 31st deadline for closing out the fund or returning the money to the state. However, Gruen notes they can still work with the state on release of money from the fund for two projects after that date.