HAZARD—Under a white tent in the abnormal 80 degree May heat, McDonald’s co-owners and other Hazard community leaders dug in together to break ground for the new McDonald’s restaurant on Citizen’s Lane in Hazard.
Diana and Ken Patula, co-owners of both the Combs Road McDonald’s and the East Main Street McDonald’s, announced earlier this year that the 25-year-old East Main location would be closed by August 2014 and relocated to the Citizen’s Lane location, just off the Johnny Cox All-American Drive.
Diana Patula welcomed the guests and McDonald’s staff who were able to make it to the event on Wednesday afternoon. She said she was touched to be a part of a community that was so involved with its local businesses, adding that she has always tried to return that interest.
“We are excited to bring you the latest technological advances developed for the food industry in this new restaurant while continuing to serve you the foods that you have come to anticipate,” she said.
Dana Feltner, preacher at the First Baptist Church in Hazard, blessed the gathering and the upcoming work that would need to be done for the restaurant to be completed in time.
Patula told the Herald earlier this year that the new location is planned to be up and running only a week after the East Main location is closed.
Ken Patula closed the ceremony by thanking everyone who helped get the idea of a new McDonald’s off of the ground.
“I want to thank Fitz Steele, he worked behind the scenes, and I’ll tell you, if it wasn’t for Fitz, this store would not be here,” he said. “I talked to the people from the McDonald’s corporation … that said it’s been a long time since they worked with a local community that’s put its arms around the folks that wanted to come in and start a new business like the City of Hazard has.”
Ken added that his employees were the unsung heroes for sticking with him and his wife while they tried for years to upgrade the East Main location.
“That’s an old facility down there, and it’s been a long process of getting this rebuilt. That store’s too hot in the summer, it’s too cold in the winter, and everything’s breaking. So, thank you for sticking with us this whole time because you’re going to get the nicest restaurant in the east, the most up-to-speed McDonald’s you’ll have in the east will be right here in Hazard,” he said.
Amelia Holliday can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.