Roxborough is abuzz with opinions about the prospect of a Wendy’s at the former site of the Bunting House on Ridge Avenue.
Despite neighborhood opposition, the historic building was demolished in December after 130 years at the corner of Ridge and Roxborough avenues.
Larry Morris, who walks by the former Bunting House site regularly, said, “This is a nice residential area, and putting up a Wendy’s doesn’t seem like it would be good for the neighborhood. It’s a shame that a fast food restaurant will be replacing such a historical building.”
“I like Wendy’s, but I’m not sure if I want it in this neighborhood. Why not make it a place for a farmer’s market?” said Nancy Fredland.
While an overwhelming amount of residents have voiced their objections to the proposal online and on the streets, there are some that stand behind the plan, or seem to be unfazed by it.
As of Friday, a NewsWorks poll showed 77.9 percent of the 209 self-selected respondents opposing Wendy’s, while 19.7 percent supported it and 2.4 percent didn’t care either way.
Opposition to the Wendy’s proposal is packaged in an online petition with 824 signatures.
“It’s about walkability and diversity, not driveability and boring,” wrote Hilary Langer along with her signature.
A Roxborough Residents Against Wendy’s Facebook page went live Saturday just as news of the fast food restaurant proposal broke. It currently has 273 “likes,” but is also, ironically, being used by a pro-Wendy’s faction putting a lively neighborhood social media spin on display.
When the anti-Wendy’s readers asked website visitors to call the restaurant and protest, pro-Wendy’s readers claim to have called in support, for example.
Wendy’s opponents cite traffic and neighborhood character as reasons to keep the chain out of the neighborhood. Supporters mention jobs and freedom to build, serve, and eat whatever you want as reasons to allow it.
Some residents opposing the plan, like Sukey Blanc, say the site should be used for something that would put money back in the community.
The Central Roxborough Civic Association plans to make Wendy’s the main topic at the group’s next meeting on March 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Leverington Presbyterian Church.
A legal battle may be on the horizon, but if developers Frank and Tony Giovannone secure a variance for a drive-through Wendy’s, neighborhood residents will be soon be able to get burgers at Wendy’s, water ice at Rita’s, and beer at Speedy Beverage from the comfort of their cars along Ridge Avenue in Roxborough.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story indicated that drivers could soon get burgers, water ice and beer at different establishments along Ridge Avenue from the comfort of their cars. It was not meant to imply that Wendy’s would sell beer, rather that this could add to the growing drive-through business on Ridge Avenue. We’ve edited the copy to clarify that.