A lot of people out in Valley Station and the Southwest have a chip in their shoulder. Many think Metro Government snubs its nose at them when it comes to bringing projects there (unless it’s a demonized ammunition shelter). Some complain that national businesses, especially franchised restaurants, overlook them.
And I’ve heard the demographics — that statistics show that the older, traditional people in the South generally eat out less, don’t use credit cards, and those numbers discourage restaurant chains from locating on Dixie Highway.
But another part of the problem is resistance to change. Seven years ago, developer Chris Thieneman first started negotiating with Cracker Barrel to build a restaurant on property he owns on Dixie. The deal was done, approved by the Metro Council in 2004. But resistance from neighbors squashed the deal and the plan was shelved.
Now Thieneman and Cracker Barrel are taking another shot at developing the property. The city’s development review committee approved the deal Jan. 12. But there’s a 30-day period in which any neighbor could file an objection. If no one objects, construction could start in the spring.
And Thieneman told me he fears that, if a neighbor files an objection, it could hold up things for years in the courts. Cracker Barrel has managed to build two new locations around town since Thieneman first began negotiating with them — on Crittenden Drive and in Fern Creek. There’s another one in Jeffersontown’s industrial park.
The idea of having a Cracker Barrel in Valley Station is extremely popular among residents. It’s a good, solid business that would without doubt be a success.
Let’s hope Valley Station doesn’t shoot itself in the foot again.