The Cantwells are growing yet again.
Dane Cantwell, part of the Vincennes family that owns two local Marathon stations, went before members of the city's Board of Works on Monday seeking permission for a new curb cut on Green Street just off of Washington Avenue, all part of a major expansion planned at that location.
Cantwell said the family has bought a house behind the existing service and gas station at 1602 Washington Ave. with plans to tear it down to build a new Sunoco convenience store and gas station behind the existing building.
They will eventually tear the existing Marathon service and gas station down, he said, adding that the new location will no longer include its service bays.
The Sunoco, he said, will be even larger than the Marathon Short Stop located on Ford Road. They're working to give the new facility a slightly-older look to pay homage to the service bays that have been there for more than 50 years, Cantwell said.
Also as part of the project, they are changing the flow of traffic in and out, board members learned.
In addition to a new curb cut off Green Street, which the board approved, they will change existing ingress and egress points off both Washington Avenue itself and St. Clair Street, shortening them and moving them back from the intersection itself so as to cause less congestion in that area.
The city council later in the evening approved on first reading an ordinance to rezone the are for commercial use. Katie Kotter with HartBell LLC, 513 Main St., representing the Cantwells, explained that roughly half the site was currently zoned for residential use and the other for commercial.
The process to change the whole area for commercial use requires the city council approving on first reading the necessary ordinance, which then goes to the Area Plan Commission for its recommendation.
The commission will meet next week. With a favorable recommendation the ordinance would come back the city council for final approval.
The Cantwell family has been operating gas stations here for more than 50 years.
Family patriarch Charlie Cantwell leased his first gas station, the Eastside Conoco station, in the late 1960s. Then, in 1982 he bought the Marathon service center on Washington Avenue where, to this day, workers still pump your gas for you.
Charlie and sons, Dane and Darren, then announced in 2009 that they would usher in the next generation of gas stations with the construction of Marathon Short Stop.
The Cantwell family was awarded the Knox County Chamber of Commerce's Small Business of the Year award in 2016 and the state's Half-Century Business Award in 2018.
In other business, board members awarded a $20,200 contract to Montgomery's Wagler and Sons for the replacement of the roof on the Works Progress Administration-era shelter house at Gregg Park.
The city secured a state Department of Natural Resources historic preservation grant last year to help pay for a more than $130,000 restoration of the shelter house, but in an effort to cut costs, a plan to replace the roof was abandoned.
Mayor Joe Yochum promised to find the money to do it anyway, and on Monday, Wagler and Sons was awarded a contract for the work.
Steve Beaman, superintendent of the city's Parks and Recreation Department, said as a result of the initial restoration, the city signed a covenant with DNR that requires any updates or changes made to the shelter house be first approved by officials there.
Beaman said work can't begin on the new roof until DNR signs off.
Editor & Publisher Gayle R. Robbins contributed to this report.