LATEST: Olive Garden creating buzz around town - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

LATEST: Olive Garden creating buzz around town

by Colby Robertson

RIB MOUNTAIN (WAOW) -- Rib Mountain officials confirm The Olive Garden could call the town home by the end of the year.

It's been a rumor for years, but yes this time the rumor is true. Very preliminary plans are in the works to bring an Olive Garden to Rib Mountain.

Wednesday night, the Rib Mountain Planning Commission took the first step in a several step process. But already, there's buzz around town. For years there's been rumors about an Olive Garden coming to the Wausau Metro area.

"I love Olive Garden," says one excited resident. Another says, "I think it's great to have an affordable option for Italian food."

Now that rumor could become reality.

Tom Muellner, Chair of the Rib Mountain Planning Commission says, "It's 100% that they've asked about putting one in here."

A spokesperson with REI Engineering in Wausau confirms they have signed a contract with Darden, Olive Garden's Parent Company. Their job to provide civil engineering for the design site along Rib Mountain Drive in the area between Pier One and Kryshak Jewelers.

Muellner says, "How do we know they're legitimately requesting this? I can say there's a fair amount of money that goes into getting just his far with developing the basic plans and so if someone was only inquiring about coming out here it's unlikely they would spend money hiring an engineering company to get this far."

If all goes well and according to plan Olive Garden could be here by the end of the year. The excitement is there and so is the possibility of bring a hundred jobs to the area, but the details are still up in the air.

Muellner says, "It's hard because nothing is cast in stone right now."

A Darden spokesperson says they're not yet under contract at the Rib Mountain location. With little set in stone, much of the buzz will have to continue at least until the town's next meeting in March.

At the March 24th meeting they will bring forth a general development plan and a precise implementation plan. Now, Olive Garden can still decide to opt out. With the uncertainty of the economy and the developmental business anything is possible.

Online Reporter: Colby Robertson

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