ANNA - Another major chain is coming to Anna Town Center.


The City Council unanimously approved a measure March 10 that paves the way for Panda Express to begin construction on a new restaurant.


It will be located in the large retail development at the intersection of U.S. Highway 75 and White Street that currently includes a Walmart and CVS Pharmacy.


Council did not indicate when construction would begin.


Panda Express has over 2,200 locations worldwide and is the nation’s largest Asian food restaurant chain.


The Anna location will include a drive-thru. It will be located along the U.S. Highway 75 service road north of the recently opened Starbucks.


Chick-fil-A and Whataburger also have new restaurants under construction in the same area.


Geren Gets the Wastewater Treatment


Council voted unanimously to rename the Slater Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in honor of John. R. Geren.


Geren is a long-time resident who served on the city council for a total of 12 years over two separate stints.


A sign at the plant entrance will include a cannon logo in recognition of his local business that manufactures custom cannons.


Geren thanked council, saying he was honored and excited for the recognition


“Some of my best memories of this city were honestly on this council,” Geren said. “We dealt with a lot of stuff back then.”


Frustration expressed


Place 1 Councilmember Kevin Toten expressed his frustration at the lack of progress toward a new sports complex.


After recognizing Parks Superintendent Matt Lewis for his help in alleviating flooding issues at area baseball fields, Toten quickly turned his attention to what he feels is the need for additional sports facilities.


According to Toten, part of the reason he was elected two years ago was his opposition to the city’s restored 1885 train depot at Sherley Heritage Park. That project required the elimination of a baseball field.


Toten said a replacement field was promised at the time, but no progress has been made.


He said he believes that Anna is now falling behind other nearby cities that have built or broken ground on new sports complexes.


“This is how serious I’m going to take it,” Toten said. “There’s a 99.9 percent chance that I’m going to vote ‘no’ on anything coming to this city until I see a significant change and a big jump in moving forward to getting our kids … a sports complex.”


Toten indeed followed through on his threat. Other councilmembers chuckled at times as Toten emphatically said “no” on successive roll call votes.


He did vote in favor of the evening’s last consent agenda item paving the way for Panda Express. Toten said he did so because he liked pandas, eliciting laughter from just about everyone in attendance.