It’s the question everyone seems to be asking city officials Here’s a thought: Cottage Grove is in the planning stages for a referendum vote seeking permission to borrow to build a Community …
It’s the question everyone seems to be asking city officials
Here’s a thought: Cottage Grove is in the planning stages for a referendum vote seeking permission to borrow to build a Community Center in the fall.
Here’s what this report thinks could be a sure-fire way to get that vote to pass: Build a Pizza Ranch as part of the complex!
OK, that’s just a joke, but Pizza Ranch – or the possibility of one coming to Cottage Grove – seems to be brought up at city meetings quite often, and it’s a favorite topic for Mayor Myron Bailey to tease his constituents about in Facebook posts.
Here’s Bailey’s snippet to his followers from last week: “I had a great meeting with Pizza Ranch today! They are still committed to coming to Cottage Grove as soon as possible! Hopefully sooner than later!”
On March 9, he posted, “Nothing new to report on Pizza Ranch.
See PIZZA Page 5 Pizza
From Page 1
Still planning to come but waiting for this COVID situation to subside.”
Not to anger Pizza Ranch and to prove he ultimately wants all Cottage Grove business to succeed, Bailey also posted about eating dinner in January at Carbone’s Pizzeria.
And this from Jan. 10: “Though I cannot speak specifically to the restaurants looking to locate in town – I can tell you that some are what I have heard from some of you that you want!”
This newspaper’s predecessor reported in October 2019 that “The Midwestern fast-casual staple Pizza Ranch is set to open a location in Cottage Grove, under the ownership of franchisee Cottage Grove PR, Inc. The Cottage Grove City Council approved the restaurant with a conditional use permit last week. The restaurant is set to open next to the Muddy Cow off Hardwood Avenue, Harkness Avenue and Oakwood Park Drive in spring 2020. The 8,056-square-foot restaurant is shaping up to be one of the state’s largest Pizza Ranch locations, featuring a fun zone and five party rooms.”
The company still owns the site but may be looking at building at a different parcel in Cottage Grove.
Incidentally, in researching that information, this reporter also landed upon direct Facebook posts to Pizza Ranch, mostly to this effect: “When are you coming to Cottage Grove?”
There were others: Apparently the breakfast pizza is a hit. They’re building right now in suburban Nashville. And there wasn’t blue cheese dressing on the salad bar two weeks ago, just French and ranch.
With that in mind, it wasn’t that much of a surprise then when “The Ranch” was brought up at the Cottage Grove Planning Commission meeting last Monday night.
Near the close of the meeting, Planning Commission Chair Tony Khambata questioned councilmember Steve Dennis about it.
“I’ve been asked numerous times if Pizza Ranch is still coming and if so, when?” Dennis was asked.
The answer from Dennis: “I’ve been made privy to some information on that property owner right now. They own a piece of land. They’re still kind of in a hold mode. There’s another location in the city they’ve looked at. There were some financial considerations and other challenges for them as there are with all restaurants during COVID.
“Without me breaking any disclosure agreements or anything along those lines, I believe in good faith they still want to come here. They are wanting to make a business here.”
With so many people eager for Pizza Ranch, that Community Center with its Aquatic Center are going to be a good idea, especially with our post-pandemic bodies!
Khambata also asked about the possibilities of affordable housing developments.
It was brought up that apartments are under development at the old city hall site and there is a lot of interest.
“That’s the first time we’ve had a development like that in 20 years,” said Dennis.
He noted that a successful development usually leads to similar plans.
The commission also will continue with their Zoom format meetings for now.
A motion was made to return the meetings to the City Council chambers, but it was rescinded.
“I’m wondering if and when we’re going to be able to meet in person again,” she said, noting that since she’s served all meetings have been virtual.
“I can’t wait to meet you guys in person,” she said.
Dennis said it’s up to Planning Commission members.
“If you wanted to you can make a motion here tonight among the members and let the members of the Planning Commission decide and vote on whether they’d like to continue with this format or meet in person,” he said.
The City Council and some other city committees meet in-person now.
However, one member was against it for health reasons and another likes to be able to “attend” virtual meetings while traveling for work.
The matter will be discussed again in the near future.