Augusta McDonald’s to reopen March 15 — which is big news for the city

WICHITA — Several McDonald’s locations around Wichita have remodeled or rebuilt, which isn’t necessarily big news.

If a temporarily closed McDonald’s is in a smaller city such as Augusta, though, it’s huge news.

“It’s the talk of the town,” says Jennifer Lane, whose family owns and operates the restaurant.

“I see people parked across the street,” she says.

Some just watch the construction. Others take pictures.

Others have had to find alternative meeting places during the restaurant’s reconstruction.

“I think they might have been having some coffee shops in their houses,” Lane says.

Even Lane’s family – the ones who don’t own the restaurant – are getting in on it.

“Well, I stopped by, checked on everything,” Lane’s father, John Tipton, informed her while she was out of town. “Seems to be doing pretty good.”

By the time the restaurant reopens on March 15, construction will have lasted less than two months.

“We’re setting a record for the region on this build,” Lane says.

Wichita’s Petra construction company is the contractor.

“I can’t even speak highly enough of them,” Lane says.

There’s a ribbon cutting on March 14. Retired employee Claudette Williams, who is 94, will do the honors. She’s thinking she may want to stay around and return to work.

Williams and her daughter occasionally make the drive from Wichita “to check on everything,” Lane says.

She says Williams has told her: “I don’t think anybody should retire. I just don’t like it at all.”

Lane says the new McDonald’s, which is still at 520 W. Seventh St., will have “a very crisp, clean look” with modern, sleek lines and fewer pictures on the walls.

Though the busy Lane undoubtedly will be happy to have the restaurant open once again, the temporary closure has offered an opportunity for her to see how important the restaurant is in Augusta.

“It’s really cool.”