DECATUR — Mister Softee ice cream will be sold in a permanent location in Nelson Park next summer next to the Overlook Adventure Mini Golf course, Decatur Park District leaders announced Wednesday.
During the park board’s regular meeting, members finalized an agreement with owner Terri Chance to open the new store in the space formerly occupied by Ted’s Taters, which closed last month.
Chance, who co-owns the truck with her daughter, Haley Huddleston, said her projected opening date is April 1.
They began operating the truck in Decatur during the summer of 2013, and since then, Chance said she and Huddleston have had a contract with the park district to operate the truck during events on park grounds.
Because of the previous deal, Chance it was a "natural fit" to open the new store at the Overlook Adventure Park, which includes a ropes course and batting cages.
“We are very happy to be partnering with the park district once again,” Chance said. “We’re really excited for the opportunity, and for the future and what it holds.”
Park district Executive Director Bill Clevenger said the agreement with Chance was in the works shortly after Ted’s Taters closed its doors in September.
The owner of Ted’s Taters and CherryBerry, Kendall Peterson, cited health reasons for closing both of the restaurants located adjacent to the miniature golf course. Peterson is also closing another CherryBerry location on Oakland Avenue on the city’s west side.
“They’ve done so well with the truck, and we are very excited,” Clevenger said. “Every kid loves ice cream.”
Founded in 1956, the Mister Softee franchise is known for its soft-serve ice cream cones, sundaes, slushes and milkshakes. Ted's Taters specialized in soups, sandwiches, hot dogs and a variety of specialty fries, and CherryBerry is a frozen-yogurt restaurant chain.
Similar to the Overlook Adventure Park's former tenants, Clevenger said the Mister Softee store would open only when the multi-million dollar complex is open for the season.
Huddleston said the ice cream truck's operations will not be affected by the opening of the new store.
“We’ll still be open to do birthday parties, and all of our corporate events, and running day-to-day like we have in the past,” she said.
Chance said her lease with the park district will begin in January 2018.
According to Clevenger, the lease is worth $5,000 and will last for seven months. Park district leaders have said they will seek an occupant for the second restaurant spot as well.
While they didn't want to give away too much information about their new venture, Chance and Huddleston said they are both looking forward to the coming months.
"It's been very recent, and it's all been happening very quickly for us, and we have some decisions to make," Chance said. "But we felt that since we had this opportunity, we better jump on it."