New business helps revitalize Waterloo neighborhood - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New business helps revitalize Waterloo neighborhood

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A popular Chicago restaurant is coming to Waterloo and is working to help redevelop an area of town that has been struggling.

The Walnut Neighborhood, near Franklin and 4th,, is an area the city has been working to redevelop, even creating special tax breaks for new development in the area.

Chicago based, Harold's Chicken will now be a part of that revitalization.

Harold's Chicken is just weeks away from opening in the Franklin strip mall next to Earth's Beauty Supply.

A long-time staple of Chicago is looking to invest in Waterloo and not just from a business stand point.

"For us, it is bigger than Harold's. It is more about how can we help," said Harold's Chicken's Waterloo owner Gerald Seals. "Obviously, we know, we can put Harold's anywhere in Iowa and it will thrive. We are very confident in that matter, but we wanted to come to a place we feel we can make an impact, not only from a business stand point, but from a community stand point."

The restaurant is just a block away from the Boys & Girls Club. There is no official partnership yet, but Seals says he is excited and passionate about mentoring Waterloo's youth about leadership, hard work, and small business.

"Me growing up in the ghetto was nothing to be proud of, but I knew once I was of age, to do the right things. That is what I did. I just want to be somewhat of a reflection that dreams do come true," said Seals.

Seals crediting Mayor Hart with being instrumental in bringing Harold's to the Walnut area.

Mayor Hart seeing this as part of a bright future for the neighborhood.

"This is more than just one council person. This is more than just one mayor. It is about us moving together; bridging the community," said Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart.

"I am really optimistic that this could be kind of building blocks we can do in many of the different parts of our community to rebuild and provide some time of renaissance with community," continued Mayor Hart.

Harold's Chicken will be open the first of February and Seals hopes to have a teen program up and running in the summer.

Harold's Chicken is also opening stores in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.

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