Update: Construction work begins in Belpre on Taco Bell restaurant

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BELPRE, OHIO (WTAP) - Update: 10/18/2017 5:00 P.M.

More commercial development is in the making on Belpre's Washington Boulevard.

Construction has just begun on a Taco Bell restaurant.

Mayor Mike Lorentz and the city's chamber of commerce both tell the News Center the new restaurant could be open by the end of 2017.

Ground clearing for it began earlier this week in the 600 block of Washington Boulevard.

It's the latest of several economic development projects begun in Belpre this year.

The mayor also says plans are still in the works for a Burger King, that would be located near the soccer fields, also on Washington Boulevard.

There's no timetable yet for beginning or completion of that project.

5/4/2017

The intersection of U.S. route 50 and Farson Street is to be the site of an expanded Belpre Medical Center, which will include a relocated office of First Settlement Physical Therapy.

Belpre city officials tell us work in progress on Main Street is for a dialysis center affiliated with the Cleveland Clinic.

Both are businesses that should bring in more employment to the city.

"And they're going to spend money on lunch and the things they do," says Bob Rauch, chairman of the Belpre Economic Development Team which works with the city through the Chamber of Commerce, "and some probably are not going to live within the city limits, so they bring outside interests into town. I think it's a win-win."

And when they go to lunch, in addition to restaurants already in business, they could go to a Burger King that city leaders say they're 100 percent sure will open some time next year on Washington Boulevard.

All are positive signs for business in this city.

"If we do the things correctly, and we continue to clean up and look better," says Mayor Mike Lorentz, "people are going to want to come here to shop and eat. They'll want to visit our parks for recreation, and so forth."

The mayor is a life-long resident of this city, and he says he can't remember a time when there was this much development, or talk of development, going on in Belpre all at the same time.

The economic-development team has been helping the city with these projects, and others, for the past couple of years. Rauch says Belpre's economic potential does not end there.

"We need higher-end housing here. We need people with that kind of influence to bring some of their companies and some of their people here."

Lorentz says there's also discussions about a strip mall at another vacant site on Main Street, and of another restaurant on Washington Boulevard.