Katie Thisdell reports on news from Stafford County. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 540/735-1975.
EDA approves grant for Amy’s Cafe
The 200-year-old building that houses Amy’s Cafe in southern Stafford will get fixed up with help from Stafford’s Economic Development Authority. The EDA approved 6-1 a $60,000 grant to the new owner, Paul Eakin, on Wednesday.
He plans to use the funds toward $150,000 worth of improvements to the Falmouth building, including expanding the kitchen area. Here are the terms of the grant.
Along with the new ownership will be a new lease and extended hours for restaurateur Amy Johnson. Starting Oct. 15, the casual family restaurant will be open 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, and 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Sunday, according to its website. The new lease could allow Amy’s Cafe close one day each week.
Eakin is a commercial real estate broker for Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. Here’s a previous story about his request.
The house is also a private residence, which worries Rock Hill Supervisor Cord Sterling. He sent a lengthy email to his appointee before the meeting, asking if the $60,000 in taxpayer funds could be better used elsewhere, such as improving infrastructure around the house at 103 W. Cambridge St.
Wendy Maurer said that in seven years, she’s never had a supervisor involved in this type of EDA decision, but noted that money does come from the Board of Supervisors. “We need to be judicious with the funds they are giving us,” said Maurer, who voted against the grant. She said she also worried that the grant could create a “slippery slope” and artificially inflate real estate values.
EDA member Joel Griffin said approving the grant made sense because the county has looked at redevelopment in Falmouth for some time, and the EDA should support small “homegrown” businesses.
Said Chairman Donald Newlin: “If Amy’s goes away, we’re going to hear a whole lot more from supervisors than if we approve this.”