Demolition set for former restaurant

A Vienna restaurant building, situated along the Ohio River, is scheduled to be demolished on Jan. 24.

Taxes, rising flood insurance costs and utility bills have made it too expensive to continue to operate the blue and white building at 1 17th St. off Grand Central Avenue, owner Rick Coulson told me Thursday evening.

The building most recently housed Fishbone restaurant and is the former location of Sensations on the River, the Colonnade and Ricky D’s Simply Italian restaurants.

Coulson, who has owned the building for about 12 years, said he is looking at transforming the 3.5-acre property into river lots and camping sites.

“It’s not feasible with the costs” to keep the building open, Coulson said. “It would be better to rent (the property) as river lots.”

Gene Butler, owner of the Fishbone and the Polo Club in Parkersburg, will keep his entertainment stage on the property and plans to hold about eight concerts there this year, including the second annual Vienna Jazz Festival.

Butler, who operated the Fishbone off and on for six years, wants to build a pavilion or shelter on the riverfront property for outdoor events. Coulson said a gazebo is a possibility for the property.

During the past two years, Fishbone has been open for special events, parties and concerts, Butler said. Tearing down the building will allow him to expand the concert site and bid on bigger-name bands, he said.

An auction will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 19 at the property to sell Butler’s restaurant equipment, along with boats, trailers, RV buses, construction equipment and other items.

Demolition of the Fishbone building has forced Butler to move the Jan. 25 Shooter Jennings concert to the Polo Club at 1023 Depot St. Jennings, son of country music legend Waylon Jennings, will be joined by Waymore’s Outlaws (former members of Waylon’s band) and the Davisson Brothers Band.

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There will be fires on Market Street tonight. It is part of the monthly Second Saturday Socials scheduled for downtown Parkersburg. “Fire and Crystal” will take place at 6 p.m. at the Crystal Cafe, 402 Market St., featuring local musician Chelsea Laswell performing acoustic renditions of popular songs from Tom Petty to Lady Gaga, refreshments, a dress theme of “flameboyance” and bling, and fire pits on the street. At 5 p.m. meet at the Crystal for a walk and bike ride in the downtown area before the social gathering, a family-friendly event. The gatherings are designed to showcase downtown businesses.

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Former Marshall University and NFL quarterback Chad Pennington will be the guest speaker at the Marshall University Alumni of the Mid-Ohio Valley Club’s scholarship fundraising dinner March 10 at Grand Pointe Conference Center in Vienna. The organization will be honoring Joe Roedersheimer, Marshall graduate and co-owner of the North End Tavern and Brewery, at the dinner. Last year, the local Marshall alumni club awarded 11 $1,000 scholarships and made donations to the Vision Campaign and the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. Tickets for the dinner can be reserved by contacting Laurie Martin at mualumnimovclub@yahoo.com. You do not need to be a Marshall graduate to attend the dinner.

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In case you missed the state of the state address Wednesday night, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin recognized Wood Countians Fred Earley and Michael Powell in his speech. Tomblin noted that Earley, as president of Highmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of West Virginia in Parkersburg, continues to support teachers in the state. Tomblin recognized Powell of Parkersburg, a 2013 graduate of West Virginia University’s Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. During an investment mission to Europe in October, Tomblin visited Pietro Fiorentini, a company that creates products and systems for natural gas distribution and use, in Italy. The governor met with Powell, who has been hired by Pietro Fiorentini as a production engineer at its U.S. operations in Wheeling. Powell, a Parkersburg South High School graduate who earned a degree in mechanical engineering, was in Italy as part of his four-month training program, Tomblin said.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com