Robbie and I were having lunch on the deck at Chapati on Saturday when a Northfield Lines bus pulled up in front of the Archer House to pick up a wedding party. With cars parked in the spaces at both ends of the no-parking zone, I assumed the driver would just be able to pull in a tiny bit, but would otherwise be blocking much of the lane on Division St.
But he backed it in, just like backing a car into a parallel parking spot. While backing up, he got so close to that Mini Cooper (center photo) that I assumed the bus had an external video camera at the rear to guide him. When the car parked near the front of the bus pulled out, he was then able to bring the bus all the way to the curb, which is when I took the photos.
The driver was long-time Northfielder Jack Parker who said the bus was not equipped with any cameras or other electronic tools to assist him in parking. He attributed his being able to eyeball it to being a farm boy. Impressive. He said he loved his job way more than over-the-road and when I watched him greet the wedding party as they stepped onto the bus, it was obvious.
Like other restaurant owners in Northfield, [Jane] Volkert has dealt with rising commodity prices at the same time customers are watching their spending more. She attributed the closing to “the economy.”
The restaurant has been for sale for several months. Volkert spoke with her staff about the closing when she made the decision, and as a result, her staff has been reduced from six employees to three.
Todd Byhre, general manager of the Archer House River Inn, which leases the space to Volkert, said the hotel is exploring options to fill the area, possibly keeping it as a coffee shop, but nothing is set in stone.
The Northfield Historical Society (NHS) is adding an elevator to the building that will allow for ADA access to all three levels of the building. This project will also include the addition of six (6) ADA compliant restrooms that will be open to the public. The demand for more public restrooms is particularly important during community events in the Downtown Business District… The Northfield Historical Society’s request to the City is for $60,000.00 from the Master Development/TIF District #4 Fund. The overall project budget is currently budgeted for $700,000.00. The restroom phase of the project will cost $175,000. This project is scheduled to be completed by January 2011.