DIAMOND, Ill. — As street improvements are being completed in the area of Division Street and Will Road in Diamond, another construction project is garnering enthusiasm.
Diamond officials have recently confirmed rumors the structure being put up in the northwest corner of the intersection is going to be a combination Taco Bell/KFC restaurant. The restaurant will be part of the new Diamond Point Shopping Center.
Mayor Terry Kernc said it's hard to miss the work done so far — from workers on-site pouring the foundation to building up.
"They're vertical — they're putting the walls up," Kernc said. "It's starting to look like a Taco Bell/Kentucky Fried Chicken."
She said city officials are excited to see the progress for the site's development, which has been about a year in the works, and equally excited to see it completed by the end of 2012.
"We can't wait," she said. "I've seen the floor plan of the store — it's very comfortable and inviting. I think people will enjoy meeting there and eating there."
Kernc said two features she's excited about are a patio, which will allow patrons to eat outside during warmer months, and a bike path that will lead to the restaurant.
"We're really looking forward to our families being able to bicycle and walk and enjoy themselves," she said.
Kernc said the response has been positive, and beyond Diamond in terms of scope. Residents of communities including Braidwood, Carbon Hill and Gardner have also expressed interest.
"They're thrilled. We're getting as much happy people who don't even live in Diamond as we have live in Diamond," she said. "I had no idea — I'm surprised. It's very good to hear their excitement."
Attracting the restaurant to Diamond may be making residents happy, but it's also making town officials happy because of the potential for more growth that it represents, Kernc said.
"We're very happy because it's stimulating interest in that area of town," she said.
She pointed to movement for the Illiana Expressway's proposed B3 connection and the new RidgePort Logistics Center as key in bringing more growth to Diamond.
"I think people are starting to speculate and developers are starting to look," she said. "I think the jobs are going to start being created. We have a great school district, low taxes and I think this is a great place to be."
Private-public partnerships have also made the project possible, she said, citing grant funds for the storm water work as key in bringing in the restaurant.
Diamond resident Tamme Crater said she is all for the new restaurant coming to town.
"I think it's a wonderful thing that we're getting some new, diverse businesses," Crater said. "I'm hoping it's going to open eyes to other businesses that we have the space available and opportunity available in Diamond."
While she's not a big fan of Taco Bell or KFC, or other chain restaurants, she said she's supportive of what snagging a business like them means, especially since Diamond has gone through a rough period during the recession.
"It seems to be a positive thing for the community going forward, and maybe we'll have some others follow suit and start new businesses."
Fellow resident Jenn Endrst said it was surprising to hear about the restaurant, but she's glad to have a new fast-food option available to her and her family.
"I think it's a good thing," she said. "Hopefully it'll bring some more businesses in."
She said talking about the news with others, it seems they are of the same opinion.
"Everyone seems to be happy about it coming," she said.