As the anticipation for the Newark Road Taco Bell continues to build, students express mixed feelings about the new addition.
Junior Anna Dew appreciates the accessibility of the new location. “It’s nice that I can walk there if I really need to,” Dew said. “For a person who can’t drive, I like having more things I can walk to.”
On the other hand, junior Tabatha Truax laments the lack of variety. “There are just so many other things they could have put there instead,” Truax said.
Other students tend to agree, regretting the missed opportunity for a fresh new franchise in the area, such as Chick-fil-A or Noodles & Company.
Mike Hillier, an at-large representative on City Council, also holds mixed feelings about the new restaurant. Though he acknowledges the positive aspect of a new, affordable food option for the south side of town, he also expresses continued concern over the impact on traffic, particularly for Route 13 and surrounding neighborhoods.
“The restaurant will only seat 18 people and has limited parking, so in order to make a profit there will have to be a lot of traffic through the drive thru,” Hillier said. “What happens if vehicles get backed up and may stop on the street? This doesn't paint a very good picture for those traveling north on 13 and 586 trying to make lane changes or possibly wanting to turn into Taco Bell.”
Despite the ongoing concerns, construction is already under way, and the location is expected to do well. Profit is anticipated especially from MVNU and MVHS students, both of whom fall within walking distance and tend to prefer the inexpensive option.
Rodney Smith, representative for the Knox County Chamber of Commerce, reports that the Newark Road location is also expected to profit largely from the Industrial Park, particularly night shift workers due to the restaurant’s late hours. The new location is still expected to open before the year is out.