When Doc's Cantina closed in the fall of 2016, the doors were supposed to reopen in the winter.

Nearly a year later, they're still locked.

The restaurant stands in Waterfront Park on a prime piece of real estate, but the location alone was not enough to keep it open.

“Maybe enough is enough,” Waterfront Development Finance Director Cordell Lawrence said.

Ever since the restaurant closed, the operators, Falls City Hospitality Group, have struggled to pay rent.

“At this point, they owe us $28,500,” Lawrence said. “Desperate is a strong word, but we need the revenue.”

That's tens of thousands of dollars the Waterfront Development Corporation can't use to take care of the park.The board has been thinking of other ways the make up for the shortfall in its budget, including charging for parking.

“It would definitely hurt me to have to pay to bring my kids down here to play,” one Waterfront Park visitor said.

“We really have to be mindful of how we affect the community when we don't pay our bills,” another said.

Rent for just the land, not even the building, is a base of $8,500 a month, or when the restaurant is open, 3.5 percent of sales, according to Lawrence.

“We run on a very tight budget,” he said.

Not being able to balance that budget is a serious problem. That's why the Waterfront Development Board is asking Falls City Hospitality to pay up or get out, although the hope is for the group to quickly find the funding to reopen a restaurant at the location.

“We're hopeful they can come up with the financing they need to reopen the restaurant, because they're good people to work with,” Lawrence said.

The board is giving it one more chance, but in the meantime, Lawrence said other companies are showing a lot of interest in taking over.

“I've had two calls this morning from groups,” he said.

WDRB News has reached out to Falls City Hospitality but has not yet heard a response. 

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