LEESBURG — Sixth graders at Leesburg Elementary were given the opportunity to encourage Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer to bring new restaurants and businesses in to the area.
As students were learning about the genre of persuasive writing, they were given an assignment to write letters to the mayor with the purpose of persuading him to bring new stores/activities to Warsaw. On Monday, March 6, Thallemer visited the students who wrote the letters.
In their letters, students requested the mayor look into getting a wide variety of business and restaurants to come to the area. Several students asked for businesses such as Sky Zone, Target, a bookstore, a mall, Hot Topic, and Party City to come to the area. Many of the letters referenced the fact that Warsaw needs other restaurants than the three McDonald’s it currently has and asked for other places to eat such as Chipotle, Outback Steakhouse, Cracker Barrel or Olive Garden.
Sixth grader Cecelia tried to persuade Thallemer to get a Sky Zone to come to the area. She began her letter by writing, “It has come to my attention that Warsaw has a lot of bored children.” She went on to assuage any concerns about the possible dangers of the indoor trampoline park, “Plus, if you hurt your joints, or break a leg, don’t sweat it! Warsaw is crowned ‘Orthopedic Capital of the World.'”
Many students noted in their letters that Warsaw residents have to make the drive to Fort Wayne if they want to enjoy many activities and restaurants. Students cited reasons such gas costs and loss of business for Warsaw as reasons to bring more businesses to the area.
Student Hallie pushed for a Texas Roadhouse. Hallie wrote, “If we can have three McDonald’s, we can have a Texas Roadhouse in Warsaw, Indiana.”
Thallemer visited the sixth graders at the elementary school to address their ideas. He told the kids that he had enjoyed reading their letters, “I read every one of them,” said Thallemer.
The mayor used the content of the letters as an opportunity to teach students about how restaurants and businesses decide to come to town. He explained restaurants have to consider costs, how much business they will have and competition with other similar businesses in the area.
“There’s a lot of things that go into whether a business builds here,” said Thallemer.
He told kids about the possibility of Warsaw gaining a new restaurant. Thallemer mentioned a company has looked into a lot by Meijer as a tentative location for a new restaurant. While he mentioned he does not know what the restaurant is, he did explain it will not be a fast-food restaurant.
Thallemer mentioned that one student had asked that he help bring a new park to the area. Thallemer indicated this would be an easier process than bringing a restaurant to the area.
He encouraged students to get together in groups and write letters to business outlining why they should come to the area. Thallemer explained to students that if they want a new park, they can go to a parks and recreation board meeting and propose their ideas.