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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 a $60,000 grant to the new owner, Paul Eakin, on Wednesday.
He plans to use the money toward $150,000 in improvements to the Falmouth building, including expanding the kitchen area.
Along with the new ownership will be a new lease and extended hours for restaurateur Amy Johnson. The five-year-old restaurant could also close one day each week.
Terms of the grant say that work must be done within 12 months of Eakin closing on the property, and the restaurant needs to bring in at least $12,000 of sales tax revenue annually.
Eakin is a commercial real estate broker for Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer.
The three-story brick tavern is also a private residence, which worries Rock Hill Supervisor Cord Sterling.
He sent a lengthy email to his appointee on the authority before the meeting, asking if the $60,000 in taxpayer funds could be better used elsewhere, such as improving infrastructure around the building, located 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 was the only member to vote 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.
EDA Chairman Donald Newlin said that "if Amy's goes away, we're going to hear a whole lot more from supervisors than if we approve this."
Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975
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.
Amy's Cafe is located at 103 W. Cambridge St.