City resolves Riverlink restaurant dispute, avoids arbitration

An amendment to the contract between the City of Amsterdam and Dan Nelli, operator of the restaurant at Riverlink Park, was approved unanimously at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting. The resolution marks an end to a dispute between the city and Nelli that prompted several events to be cancelled by organizers due to the uncertainty of the outcome.

The main change to the contract is that Nelli will now pay $1000 per year** in rent to operate his restaurant at the city-owned facility, and the city will be responsible for all maintenance and cleanup of the park grounds. Under the previous terms of the contract, Nelli did not pay a monthly fee, but was responsible for maintaining the park grounds.

According to Mayor Michael Villa, maintenance of the grounds was one of the disputed issues.

Additionally, the contract requires Nelli to pay 10% of any revenue generated by events organized by Nelli that utilize the large outdoor tent that the city provides. The city will also assume authority to keep a master schedule to coordinate all events at the park.

Nelli said today that he was pleased that Villa reached out to him on behalf of the city to try to resolve the dispute.

“It was nice to get a phone call from the mayor, wanting to meet,” said Nelli. “We met one-on-one for about an hour. We went over everything from top to bottom.”

“I think a lot of the stuff was communication,” said Nelli in regards to the issue of event scheduling and added, “It was nice that everything fell into place.”

“We reconciled our differences,” said Villa. “It was a two-way street. What’s good for [Nelli] is good for [the city]. We want him to be successful. It’s a direct reflection on the city, on the mayor, on the council. So we want him to do well.”

The current contract requires both parties to utilize arbitration, rather than the court system, to settle disputes. Arbitration was scheduled for later in the month, but is now off the table due to the settlement of the issue.

** Previously, the article incorrectly listed the rental rate as $1000/month.

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.