Ross' Restaurant counts President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as customers, but now it is counting on its Facebook friends for help.
The restaurant stands in the path of a new Interstate 74 bridge, and its owners have been talking to the Iowa Department of Transportation and city of Bettendorf about a purchase price and possible assistance in relocating. The restaurant is in its 71st year located in the shadow of the interstate bridge.
The restaurant has a petition attached to its Facebook page asking for fans of the restaurant to show their support. Unveiled Friday, it had a handful of virtual signatures within a few hours of going live.
"The City of Bettendorf has provided financial incentives to other businesses displaced by the construction, but has not given any assistance to Ross’," the petition reads in part. "The sale of our property will not be enough to buy new land and build a new restaurant in Bettendorf. If we are going to stay in the city we’ve loved for more than half-a-century, then we will need assistance."
Saying that her family has a good relationship with the city, Melissa Freidhof-Rodgers said the petition is just a way to show the DOT and Bettendorf how important the restaurant is to the community.
"The city has been working with us and been great," Freidhof-Rodgers said. "We are just trying to get a little bit more assistance so we can make this happen.
"They’ve helped us and we’ve developed a good relationship there, but we are in such a tough situation," she said. "If there is a state program that might help, having the support of our community will help us get to the next level."
Bettendorf has four financial programs to assist businesses that are being relocated because of the bridge project. The programs include outside and interior renovation assistance, a TIF and moving assistance.
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"I think it would be safe to say that we have packages the city council has approved that if they moved to a new facility they could use," Bettendorf City Administrator Decker Ploehn said Friday. "We’ve offered those same incentives to them for when they make their move.
"We’ve been working with them and a developer they’ve been working with," he said. "We feel very positive about where we are in that process"