Finger-Lickin' Good Street Repair

Fast food franchise offers to 'fresh'en up city streets

By Matt Bartosik
|  Monday, Mar 30, 2009  |  Updated 7:42 PM EDT
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Fried chicken might be filling your potholes along with your stomach soon.

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Kentucky Fried ... Potholes?

Most drivers say they don't care what it takes. They just want the potholes filled.
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The asphalt that fills Chicago's numerous potholes might soon include 11 secret herbs and spices.

KFC, the chain of fried-chicken fast food restaurants, sent word out to mayors across the nation that it will repair the potholes of five cities.

The franchise has already filled hundreds of holes in its headquarters city, Louisville, Kentucky. The patches are decorated with a temporary white chalk design stating "Re-Freshed by KFC."

KFC will randomly select four other cities whose mayors submit an essay describing their cities' needs for street repairs.

Normally, the city of Chicago frowns upon corporate sponsorship for pothole repair. The Department of Transportation prefers to control what type of asphalt is used. Also, advertisements in the street could be a distraction and safety hazard.

But city officials aren't completely rejecting the idea.

"We are open to a variety of public-private opportunities, and we'd be glad to discuss this one with the firm and see if it fits with Illinois requirements for quality, safety, timeliness, and cost-effectiveness," said IDOT spokesperson Marisa Kollias, according to the Sun-Times.

Folks in Louisville are already pleased with the results.

"Budgets are tight for cities across the country, and finding funding for needed road repairs is a continuing challenge," Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson said in a news release. "It's great to have a concerned corporation like KFC create innovative private-public partnerships like this pothole refresh program."

This could put a new twist to the old joke: "Why did the chicken cross the road? To repair it, of course."

Matt Bartosik, editor of Off the Rocks' next issue and "between blogs" blogger, never counts his chickens before they're fried.

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