NJ town’s decision is hopeful news for Circus Drive-in fans
WALL — The Township Committee found a way to at least stave off the demise of the Circus Drive-In.
The Committee on Wednesday agreed to temporarily postpone approving any application for the demolition of the restaurant, which went up for sale in November.
Several supporters gave emotional comment at Wednesday night's meeting as to why the township should work to keep the iconic restaurant, opened in 1954, from closing.
Resident Karen Little noted other historical buildings in a mural behind the committee and how the Circus could fit right in.
"It's that big a part of our community and who we are. People from all over the country know the Circus. I happened to be there when they were filming a TV show," said Little, acknowledging that the owner does have the right to sell.
"We have an opportunity now, and only now, to save something where 100 years from now people will be looking at pictures and say 'why didn't anyone do anything," Little said.
Kathleen Regikofski, of Wall, told the committee that her son's kindergarten orientation celebration was at the Circus.
"It's been part of the landscape ever since I was growing up and it just tears my heart out" to see it close, she said. "If you could do everything in your power to please, please, please save this place. It's one if the last places I remember from my childhood."
Township Administrator Jeff Bertrand said lawyers for the township have looked into what they can do and have come up empty.
"We don't really have any options that will do anything to save it. We have people calling here telling us we should buy (the Circus property). I don't know what the town buying it will do.
Broker Gerald Norkus of Harold Wien Real Estate said that there had been some interest from potential buyers for the 1.64 acre property in keeping the restaurant open. However, Norkus told New Jersey 101.5 this week that the property is under contract for sale but had no other comment.
Earlier, Norkus said the potential buyer had no interest in running the 62-year-old restaurant, which typically opened for the season in the spring.
Samantha Kelly, who posted the news initially of the sale, said she was "overjoyed" with the committee's decision. She and her sister have worked at the Circus for several years.
"From what I was told, the Township Committee very much was emphatic in the situation and seemed to be willing to look into what they legally can do to preserve it. People are doing the best they can in their power to prevent its demolition. That's all I can ask for."
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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