By Randy Bell
Three months after getting City approval to proceed, a food truck park project on Northside Drive is at “a complete standstill.” Mandy King says she and her husband, Andrew, have been unable to wrap up a deal to buy a former muffler shop to serve as the Food Haul’s centerpiece.
“When we first inquired about the property, they were just trying to lease it,” she says. “We wanted to buy it, and they said we couldn’t. Now, they’re wanting to sell it; and, because of that, they’re having to get the land surveyed and all of that.”
King says that survey hasn’t been completed.
“We have gone out there so many times in the past four weeks or longer, and nothing [has been done]. We’re just tired of waiting.”
King says a representative of the owners told her that selling the vacant building isn’t a top priority for them.
“They’re not in a hurry to do anything,” King says. “We’re literally in a holding pattern right now.”
That doesn’t mean the project is dead, says King. The building that the Kings had hoped to buy was only part of the proposed food truck park. The original plan was to create parking space for the food trucks on City property, with the adjacent building used for indoor dining and restroom facilities; but, with only the City property to work with, there are questions about where the project goes from here.
“I know [the City] has plans for different things down in that area,” King says. “It might be that we can’t do [the food truck park] quite as large as we wanted to.”
Among the future park improvements Clinton leaders would like to see funded with the two percent restaurant tax is a skate park, which would be built near the proposed location for the food trucks.
“We just have to get back with the City and see if what we wanted to do is now overlapping with what they have planned.”
If the two projects can’t coexist, King says the only other option is to build the food truck park elsewhere.
“Andy and I both really love that location, because of the building, because of the parks that are around there and just the atmosphere and the traffic that comes up and down through there going to the ballfields,” she says.
“We just love that side of town. So, we really wanted that location for this. It’s like that was the prime location for it, but we’re not at all opposed to looking elsewhere in Clinton.”
In an interview in June, Andrew King said his vision was for “a premier food truck venue” offering “gourmet food, but off of a truck.” His hope was for as many as ten to twelve trucks, to give families a wide variety of food to choose from.