The town council here voted this week to move forward on a project to move the historic Oasis Diner to the Town Center.
Doug Huff and Don Rector approached the council last week about moving forward on the project. They had bid on the project to move the diner, as well as operate it.
Planning Director Joe James has been working to save the diner for nearly two years. The Oasis Diner was built in 1954 and is just east of Ronald Reagan Parkway, just inside Hendricks County.
James helped to secure a grant from Historic Landmarks to help move the diner to its new home. Historic Landmarks is a non-profit organization that fights to defend architecturally unique, historically significant, and communally cherished properties.
“We come to the council to answer any of your questions or concerns,” Rector said. “We would also like to ask the council if we can move forward.”
Council member Renea Whicker asked about the diner’s capacity and how the historic feel of the facility would be preserved.
“The vestibule was added and will be taken off, showing the original face of the building,” Huff said. “The parapet will be taken off and restored. The Oasis sign will be redone with all new neon.”
He said he was excited about the new location.
“It will be a premier location because of the historic appeal,” he said. “And we’ll provide quality service and food.”
Council president Robin Brandgard said he would like to see the menu be like it was in the 1950s.
“It wasn’t a large menu, but it was good,” he said. “That’s how I remember the diner.”
Kent McPhail, council member, made the motion to move forward with creating the legal documents between the town and the team of Huff and Rector.
“I would also like to see a $1 lease per year until the business is established,” he said. “I don’t want it to be a subsidized business.”
Council member Bill Kirchoff said he was worried that the diner would hurt the current eateries that are in the Town Center — Dairy Queen and Flap Jacks.
“I’m meeting with the other establishments to see what we can do for each other,” Rector said. “I don’t see us competing. I think it will be complimentary for us. It will help us get more people into the Town Center.”
Kirchoff said he still had concerns about the project. The board put the project to a vote and it passed 3-2 with Kirchoff and Whicker voting against the issue.
Board council Melvin Daniel will move forward in drafting the legal documents.