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City council votes to evict the Airport Cafe

Oct 17, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The Riverton City Council on Tuesday voted to terminate its contract with the Airport Cafe at Riverton Regional Airport, citing the restaurant's failure to pay rent.

If the leaseholder is able to pay the more than $5,000 reportedly owed, city administrator Steven Weaver said eviction proceedings will end.

New owners

The Airport Cafe came under new ownership earlier this year, though Weaver said an up-to-date lease agreement wasn't finalized until July. The contract held the current owners to $750 monthly rent payments, plus an additional $150 per month to cover previous debts to the city. Since July, however, the leaseholder only made "a few payments," according to Weaver.

"It was ... nothing regular," he said Wednesday. "We've had several conversations with them, just e-mails and phone calls to their cell phone, written correspondence, (with) really no response. We felt we had to do something."

He said he has been in touch with the business owners today, but until he has received payment Weaver said the process to terminate the Airport Cafe's contract with the city will continue.

"It takes awhile," he said of the process. "We have to give them six days, then file (and) serve them with papers. ... Who knows, they may pay between that time."

The cafe has been a fixture at the airport for decades, first at the old terminal and then at the new one, which was built specifically with space to accommodate the restaurant.

Weaver said it is in the city's best interest to keep the current owner in place at the airport. If the leaseholder is evicted, Weaver said the restaurant could sit empty for several months before a new owner could move in.

He added that the city would work to ensure the current leaseholder does not incur another debt this size if the cafe contract stays in place.

"We'll just have to be more on it and not allow it to get up that high," Weaver said. "We had been trying to work with them, but there comes a point you've tried your hardest and it's not working."

The council's decision to terminate its contract with the restaurant came after an executive session Tuesday evening to discuss potential litigation. The current owner and manager at Airport Cafe was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

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