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Waffle House Out, Taco Bell In: Bellevue Prepares for New Restaurants

There will be no new Waffle House in Bellevue, after all.

At least not as originally planned.

The popular national chain was the catalyst for tearing down an old self-serve car wash on Donnermeyer Drive near the Kroger store, but the land has sat vacant for years with occasional updates from the city that Waffle House was still planning to come.

On Wednesday night, though, City Administrator Frank Warnock announced five new forthcoming restaurants, including a Taco Bell location at the would-be Waffle House site on Donnermeyer.

In addition to Taco Bell, Warnock also announced progress for Enson Harbor, the forthcoming seafood restaurant set to occupy the former Joe's Crab Shack location at the city's riverfront.

Cork N Crust, a pizzeria and wine bar, will open soon in the space formerly occupied by local favorite Virgil's, which closed in 2015.

Warnock also said that a high-end restaurant is also planning to open at the top of the riverfront building that houses LA Fitness and other businesses.

Another new operation, Yucca, is set to open in the former Fairfield Cafe + Bar space.

In other business Wednesday night, Sanitation District 1 project manager Dave Gilligan updated council on a forthcoming project on Cleveland Avenue. The stormwater system at both ends of the street need to be replaced.

The plan is to install a new pipe in the middle of the road to ease some of the flooding to Covert Run.

The project is currently through 30% of the design phase, Gilligan said.

Warnock said that the cost of the project is being split evenly between the city and the utility.

Mayor Charlie Cleves said that Bellevue will be awarded two grants totaling nearly $900,000 for sidewalk improvements. The money is part of the federal funds distributed through Ohio Kentucky Indiana (OKI) Regional Council of Governments.

One grant will facilitate the improvement of sidewalks on Fairfield Avenue along the block between Bellevue Vets and the Burger King.

"You don't feel safe walking down there with your family because a car can go right on the sidewalk," Cleves said.

The block between Bellevue Vets and the WesBanco branch will also see a sidewalk improvement.

A second grant will add a sidewalk to Lincoln Road between Ward and Van Voast avenues, and there will be improvements to existing sidewalks damaged by tree roots, Cleves said.

The projects are not set to be funded until the 2024-25 fiscal year, though, Cleves said.

"It is the only way we could afford to replace all these sidewalks, so it will work out good," Cleves said.

Fire Chief Chris Adkins said that the Bellevue-Dayton Fire Department is reimplementing COVID mitigation efforts, such as disallowing visitors at the firehouse and wearing masks when interacting with the public during routine work like inspections and grocery shopping.

"We are treating everyone like they are COVID positive," Chief Adkins said of patients picked up by the department, as the region sees a significant increase in positive cases.

"We are just waiting to see how this goes," said the chief of a department that was hit hard by the virus last year. "Hopefully it won't get bad again like it was this time last year."

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher