Young Life

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:49

    Hamburg-Local businessman Frank Hinger, owner of Frank's Castle Grille on Gingerbread Castle Road and the Gingerbread Castle, claims that he is the object of "harassment" by the Police Department. At the Aug. 2 town meeting, Hinger said that a police car is parked near his family restaurant at most times when he is open for business. He believes that their presence is intimidating to his customers and is, therefore, hurting his business. After purchasing the site, Hinger proceeded to refurbish the restaurant as a companion to the Gingerbread Castle with the décor reflecting the ambiance of a medieval castle. Since the take-over some two years ago, Hinger has attempted to restore a family atmosphere with activities that include holiday celebrations, family picnics and a petting zoo. Hinger said that he is familiar with the "bad element" that was formerly associated with the site, which was a night club and go-go bar, but he assured the town council that he has made every effort to prevent this from reoccurring. When asked about Hinger's claim, Police Chief Eugene Kresge said that as traffic and the population of the town have increased substantially, there have been numerous speeding complaints. Patrolling in the area of the Castle Grille is done on a regularly scheduled basis just as police cars are assigned at regular intervals to various parts of town. "We are not here to ruin the man's business, but to enforce the speed limit listed in the residential area," the chief said. "The town most certainly does care. We work with the community." Hinger also made a plea to the Town Council for cooperation and backing in his efforts to restore the Gingerbread Castle. He repeated several times his only wish it to restore the landmark to its former status for the children and for Hamburg. In an effort to gain donations for the restoration, Hinger holds a flea market every Saturday and Sunday with the proceeds going to the Castle Restoration Fund. His Web site features both new photos of the Castle and original, nostalgic photos and also solicits donations for the Fund. Hinger expects to invest $450,000 in the Gingerbread Castle's restoration. In the two weeks since he brought his concerns to the council meeting, Hinger said this week that he has noticed the police activity has subsided. He also said he believes that the cooperation he so asked for from the town is forthcoming.