New Construction Approved Nearly Two Years After Gobles Fire

Posted at 8:24 PM, Mar 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-12 22:48:41-04

GOBLES, Mich. (March 12, 2014) — After a massive fire destroyed a restaurant, ice cream shop and bait and tackle business in downtown Gobles in April 2012, the debris remains, snow covered and untouched.

Richard Woodard owns Murawski’s Tavern adjacent to the site, and said that the eye-sore has existed far too long.

“I still have $30,000 worth of work that needs to be done that we can’t do because of the hole. We are getting to be known for the hole. Nothing else,” said Woodard.

Woodard spoke with other business owners at Wednesday’s public hearing on whether to allow Gobles Hometown Pharmacy to construct a new drive-thru drug store on the site.

The Gobles Planning Commission had originally approved Hometown Pharmacy’s plan, but denied the construction of an entrance on M-40, due to safety concerns.

After review, on Wednesday the Gobles Appeals Board decided the evidence didn’t support the commission decision.

“We go for the safety of all of our citizens and residents. If we had the factual proof that you know something would have happened, it may have been different,” said mayor Carol Johnson.

Rob Torz with Hometown Pharmacy said that the company wasn’t going to purchase the property unless their full plan to create an entrance on M-40 was given the okay.

“It’s a design element. We’ve put up six pharmacies in the past two years, and each of those have pretty similar design element to them. If you look at our pharmacy in Bangor, you want to get in and out of the main road,” said Torz.

The planning commission said that it isn’t upset with their decision being over-ruled, it just hopes no one gets hurt near the new entrance.

“It will be fine. There’s going to be a few bumper accidents here and there. I know there will be. Hopefully everyone will just be careful,” said Gary Rex with the Gobles Planning Commission.

Hometown Pharmacy already operates a store just down the street from the site. The company told the appeals board that full construction should be completed by the end of the year.