Coincides with city effort to improve facades
By Scott Bellile
Customers may notice some renovations happening behind Jolly Roger’s Pizzeria, but it won’t affect their ability to grab some pizza.
This week, Shamrock Construction will begin a facelift to the backs of a stretch of buildings owned by Jolly Roger’s owners Bob and Shellie Leahy. The business will be open as usual because it’s all exterior work, the Leahys said.
The four buildings affected are Jolly Roger’s (220 W. North Water St.) and its dining room (222 W. North Water St.), plus two buildings without businesses where seven tenants rent (224 and 226 W. North Water St.).
The city of New London awarded restaurant owners Bob and Shellie Leahy up to $7,000 through its Building Improvement Grant Program to improve the facades, according to City Administrator Kent Hager. The city’s program encourages building owners to invest in aesthetic improvements by offering them up to $2,000 per building in matching funds.
The Leahys will work on siding, gutters, railing repairs and roof repairs out back. Bob Leahy said gone will be the yellow paint as it will be switched for earth tones.
Mayor Gary Henke praised the Leahys’ efforts. Henke has been pushing for community members to beautify the backs of their buildings along the Wolf River in hopes that the former Wolf River Lumber property on the south bank will finally attract a developer.
“You’re always trying to improve, and that’s one of our weaknesses, is our view from the back,” Bob Leahy said. He said the power lines, cables and dumpsters all along the riverfront of North Water Street make it impossible for building owners to make the back alley look perfect, but it’s worth trying.
Bob Leahy called the project “basically phase one”—the ultimate goal is to create outdoor dining where boaters can pull up to. That is dependent on if the city lands a DNR grant that would pay for a new dock system along the north bank.
“Absolutely we would like to be a destination for the people on the river,” Bob Leahy said.
Along with the riverfront dining, Bob Leahy said he aspires to eventually fix up the interiors of 224 and 226 W. North Water St. He’d either rent those buildings out to businesses or expand his restaurant for his separate pizza venture, Jolly Bob’s Frozen Pizza.