AMSTERDAM -- The city of Amsterdam has filed a request for proposals for a vendor to operate the city-owned restaurant and boating facility at Riverlink Park.
Rob Spagnola, director of the city's Tourism, Marketing and Recreation Department, said the five-year lease for Dan Nelli's "River's Edge" business is up at the end of the year.
"This is standing operating procedure. The tenant's lease is up, and we just wanted to give any interested party a chance to look at [the business] while it's in full-season, rather than waiting for the winter," Spagnola said. "[Nelli] could come back, so it's no reflection on him. We'll take any proposals from anyone who's interested."
The city has not always gotten along with Nelli. In 2017, the city filed a legal action against his business alleging breach of contract. The matter was resolved by adding new requirements to Nelli's contract, including that he pay the city annually $1,000 in rent, plus 10 percent of the proceeds for any "tent parties" held at the park.
Spagnola said he believes the restaurant and boating facility may be a more attractive location for a business now than it was five years ago.
"The bridge wasn't there when we first signed the lease, the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook Pedestrian Bridge. So, just having that connecting to the park helps. We've added the water ski show. I think all of our events have gotten bigger and better," he said. "The concerts have certainly taken off on Saturday nights, so it's a lot better situation."
Nelli said he doesn't think it is that much better of a situation. He said he's invested $20,000 into the park, including building a bar that overlooks the concert area. He said he believes that his business will be down by 30 percent year-over-year compared to 2018 due to "the horrible weather."
"We're very weather dependent. The parking isn't the best situation," he said. "We will definitely be putting in a bid. It's hard to say if there is more foot traffic into the park now. My first year there were eight or nine concerts, this year there were eight or nine concerts."
According to the city's RFP, the vendor at the restaurant and boat facility can expect to attract clientele from the concert audiences that can range in size from 100 to 5,000 attendees.
"In addition to the specific requirements, the city is seeking an explicit business plan that will articulate how the vendor proposes to attract clientele above and beyond concert and water ski show attendees; i.e. on non-event evenings and during normal business hours. The City's intent is to maximize park visitor traffic, with the cafe as the attraction, during Riverlink Park hours, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. The City of Amsterdam's ideal tenant is one whom can accommodate a range of meals," reads the RFP.
Proposals are due to Spagnola by Friday, Oct. 18.