MAYVILLE - A struggling restaurant at the Jamestown airport is a week away from having its rent restructured.
The County Legislature's Public Facilities and Audit and Control committees approved a restructuring agreement with Runway 7 restaurant manager Teel Wolcott.
With approval from lawmakers next week, the four-month-old restaurant will see its rent reduced from $600 a month to $200 a month plus 5 percent gross sales. The recommendations were made by the county's airport commission.
"When the original agreement was written, I think she was anticipating a much bigger crowd at the airport than it ended up being up there," said David Himelein, R-Findley Lake. "Because it does stand out by itself a little ways out of town.
"She was anticipating a little better flow than she actually got, and currently she has been very willing to let us see her financial records for running that place."
Wolcott told The Post-Journal last week that she was approached by the airport commission regarding a rent restructuring. She said business has been slower than anticipated this summer, resulting in operating losses.
"You just simply cannot compete in the summer with everything that is going on," she said last week.
Wolcott, who was not aware of the committee's actions, declined to comment Thursday.
The restructuring, meanwhile, is not being met with universal approval.
Tom DeJoe, D-Brocton, during Audit and Control attempted to amend the resolution to eliminate the maximum amount Wolcott would pay each month. Under the amended agreement rent would never exceed $600 a month, even with the 5 percent gross sales.
DeJoe claims that Wolcott was made aware of previous restaurants that have failed at the airport.
"I do recall when this individual come forward to the committee ... last year it was specifically stated that this is a very difficult operation," he said. "It was brought to their attention for them to be successful there had to be a ton of advertising."
DeJoe said he looked up the restaurant on the Internet and in the county visitor's guide to no avail. He noted that he was told advertising was taking place.
"I'm not seeing it," he said. "I don't know where they're advertising. I've never seen it in the paper."
The Brocton Democrat also noted that the county was setting a dangerous precedent by approaching Wolcott. He said other businesses with leases might expect a similar deal.
Nonetheless, county officials have expressed desire to keep Runway 7 open, including County Executive Greg Edwards and airports manager Tim Dills.
"There has to be access to a quality restaurant to our travelers," Edwards said recently.
Added Dills: "We recognize the restaurant is an asset."
Lawmakers, too, have noted the impact a restaurant has on the underperforming airport.
"We still want to keep that presence of a restaurant in the airport for people coming and going and for people just going up there to eat," Himelein said.