Patrick Henry pavilion plan kept quiet
HEIDELBERG, Germany — There were briefings, office calls and guidance. There were surveys and focus groups. And somewhere, there’s a plan.
But the plan for Patrick Henry Village — where the former T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant has been vacant for nearly nine months and the Village Pavilion may be due for a makeover — can’t be released publicly, a local official said, until after it’s been vetted by the Department of the Army.
“In a wartime environment, that’s a pretty reasonable sort of review,” said Jeff Young, a spokesman for U.S. Army Garrison Heidelberg.
“Every dollar ... is being closely scrutinized. The scrutiny has been more thorough and at higher levels in the last three or four years than folks have been accustomed to.”
Young said that it might be possible to discuss the plan next month.
“We have to wait until we can offer very specific information,” he said.
The issue was last discussed publicly at a community meeting in May. At that meeting, according to the U.S. Army Europe Web site, USAREUR commander Gen. David McKiernan said he wanted to change the focus of the pavilion from use as a conference center to something that would provide services for Patrick Henry residents. He also thought it should include a restaurant and possibly a fitness center, the Web site says.
In July, garrison staff conducted four focus groups and planned to conduct a survey.
“The focus groups and Web-based survey will determine customer interests that may be incorporated into making the [pavilion] a customer-focused destination-driven hub,” according to the recap on the USAREUR home page.
Currently, the pavilion is used, among other things, for conferences, bazaars and Sunday pancake breakfasts.
The former T.G.I. Friday’s has been empty since January. Garrison officials initially believed another casual dining franchise, Wingers, would take the space and open in March.
T.G.I. Friday’s opened on Patrick Henry Village in July 2004, six months after it was originally scheduled to do so.