Two longtime businesses in Noblesville have permanently closed their doors as the City of Noblesville prepares to begin a major improvement project along Pleasant Street this fall that officials say will improve east and west connectivity.
The project, known as Reimagine Pleasant Street, is estimated to cost $115 million and will be done in three phases, said City Engineer Alison Krupski. The first phase, which will span 1.1 miles west of River Road to 10th Street, includes planned work by Hamilton County for a bridge to be built over the White River, Krupski said.
The public can expect to see construction beginning on the first phase – estimated to cost $59 million – sometime in October. Krupski said the project has been years in the making.
“The main goal of this project is east-to-west connectivity,” she said. “The city really needed another White River Crossing with the goal of alleviating traffic through downtown Noblesville.”
But businesses near the intersection of 10th Street and Pleasant Street, such as El Camino Real, a Mexican restaurant, and Dairy Queen, have already closed as the city says it needed to acquire the land where the eateries were for the project.
Ignacio Rodriguez, who owned El Camino Real at 797 S. 10th St., said he thinks the Pleasant Street project will benefit the community when it is completed. Rodriguez wouldn’t disclose an exact amount of how much he was paid for his property and directed a reporter to legal paperwork posted on the front door, which indicated the city paid $552,250.
Rodriguez, however, said he had ongoing talks with city officials over the matter and noted that it is possible he will relocate in the future. El Camino Real had been in business since 1998 before closing in late July.
“We have to cooperate,” he said, referring to working with the city.
Rodriguez thanked customers for their years of support, saying they made a lot of memories for him at his business.
“It’s been a pleasure to work in the community,” he said. “We tried to do our best to satisfy the customers.”
Still, Rodriguez said the decision to close was difficult.
“We will miss everybody,” he said.
Across the street, Dairy Queen has also been impacted by the forthcoming Pleasant Street project and had been a longtime staple in the area. Cathy Zeller, general manager, said the business had been at its present location since 1975 and previously was located diagonally from where the property currently sits.
The longtime business was owned by the Reasner family, which owns several other Dairy Queen franchises in central Indiana, and Zeller confirmed that the city did purchase the property at 798 S. 10th St. She did not know the purchase price, she said.
Zeller said she knew that Dairy Queen would be affected by the Pleasant Street project, although the timing remained unclear.
“We knew it was coming, but we didn’t know how quickly it would,” Zeller said.
The business, which closed Aug. 7, had a long line of customers that day as word spread that it was the last day in operation.
Zeller, who oversaw four full-time and five part-time employees, said the business has nowhere to go and will need to build on a new site at some point. Dairy Queen employees who were affected by the closure were offered to work at other stores owned by the Reasner family, Zeller said.
Still, Zeller said the decision to close was “pretty much heartbreaking” as many families enjoyed coming to Dairy Queen. Signage has already been removed at the business, which has a message “Thanks for the memories” on one side of its letterboards outside.
“I know the public at large is upset,” she said. “It’s not the businesses they’re upset about, but the whole transformation of the community.”
For Zeller, Dairy Queen has been a big part of her life, noting that 2022 marks her 49th year with the company, but she plans to work at one of the several Dairy Queens owned by the Reasners in Elwood, Tipton or Greenfield. Tipton resident Helen Smith, who worked at the Noblesville location for three years, also said she was disappointed to see the store close.
“It’s just sad, sad to see it come to an end,” Smith said.
For more on the Reimagine Pleasant Street project in Noblesville, visit reimaginepleasantst.com or call 317-773-4614.