Highway improvements in Gerald

Linda Trest
Staff Writer

Highway improvements are coming to Gerald and they have nothing to do with Modot repairs. Several vacant buildings are being prepared for new businesses plus highway banners are ready to hang. 

Otis and Jeanie Schulte have purchased the former Shelter Insurance building on West Fitzgerald Avenue (commonly known as Highway 50). The Schultes have replaced windows, roofing and siding and added rock to the existing parking lot. 

Once interior work is completed, the building will be leased for offices. There are two adjoining suites inside which may be rented individually, or as one unit. 

Otis said he believes the building was erected in the 1970s by Virgil Bartel for use as an insurance office. It has been vacant for around 15 years. 

Otis says their main goal in pursuing the project was to improve the appearance of one part of town. 

The Gerald Historical Society has undertaken a highway banner project and the first nine banners have been delivered. 

Nancy Bush, one of the project’s organizers, unveiled one of the banners at a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce last week. 

Crews from the city’s public works department will install the brackets and hang the banners in the next few weeks. 

Unofficial reports at the chamber meeting held last week revealed that a building that once housed Family Traditions Restaurant is under lease. It was reported that a Mexican restaurant will be opening there sometime in March. 

It was also reported that plans are underway to open another restaurant at the old Bonnie’s Restaurant location. Ice cream and burgers will be featured, but opening plans are indefinite. 

An insurance office and a weekend auction house have already opened in the old Sign Shoppe location at Fitzgerald and Bernhardt Avenues. 

With these additions, there are only a few empty buildings remaining with highway frontage in town. This is good news for the community and may be an indication the town is on an upswing. 

The Chamber of Commerce has recognized the trend is actively seeking ways to better serve the business community. They are looking at several new projects to celebrate the town’s new growth.