McDonald’s to break ground Tuesday

By Ryan Cornell

MIDDLETOWN — When does a town truly become a town?

Is it when it gets a post office? Or is it reliant upon the sheer number of stoplights and fast food options?

Regardless of what might be the answer, Middletown will become a little bit “townier” when work begins on its first ever fast food restaurant next week.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new McDonald’s is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at its future site, which is located between Reliance Road and the former Super 8 motel.

Zoning Administrator Fred Wharton said McDonald’s is set to close on the deal on Friday and is expected to take about 90 days to finish construction.

“The first part of October, they’ll be serving hamburgers,” he said.

He said the McDonald’s and the motel, which is being rehabbed into an Econo Lodge, will share a highway sign.

Planning Commission Chairman John Blaisdell said the motel first opened on Reliance Road near Exit 302 shortly after Stuckey’s closed in the late 1970s.

“The whole time that motel has been there, we have tried every way we could to get some kind of food establishment to come in there,” he said. “And they say, ‘Easy access to [Interstate] 81,’ but then they come in and start counting rooftops and they come back and say, ‘You just don’t have enough.'”

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or