ROCK SPRINGS — After more than 13 years in business, the 9 Iron Grill located at the White Mountain Golf Course is closing its doors at the end of the year.
The announcement was made by owners Shane Patterson and Cory Gardner last night at the Rock Springs City Council meeting.
Patterson and Gardner provided three months’ notice of the closure in a letter addressed to the council’s building committee, and council voted unanimously to accept it.
The letter read in part:
“Per our discussion with the Building Committee on October 19, 2018, we hereby give our 90-day notice to terminate the contract between the City of Rock Springs and The Nine Iron Grill located on the premises at 1501 Clubhouse Drive.”
“We regret to close this business, which we feel has been an asset to our community. However, when something requiring so great an effort fails to be profitable it is absolutely necessary to make changes.”
“We have enjoyed serving our community for the last 12 plus years…We understand the position of the building committee and the accountability they shoulder to their constituents.”
“We understand and respect why the decision was made to hold to the incremental rental increases. We also appreciate that the committee is between a rock and a hard place trying to please residents who claim that our business is being subsidized by the city while trying to please others who want a consistent business like ours at that location…”
In a separate interview following the meeting, Gardner expressed his gratitude to his staff at the restaurant for all of its hard work and dedication over the years.
“Our employees are precious to us because their more like family,” he said. “You spend more time with those kids in a week than you do your own family, and you feel responsible to them.”
While Gardner cited many examples of the decision to close, he said scaling back the overall workload of running three restaurants was maybe the biggest factor.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do without great management and a great third partner, Chris Soderlund,” he continued. “It was a collective decision, but we’re going to miss it. I feel like the whole thing was positive…we developed a lot of good relationships with a lot of people, and I met a loft of good people because of it”
Gardner compared the closing to a storied, but aging prize fighter who “goes out on top and doesn’t wait to get knocked down…he can out on his own volition. That’s kind of where we’re at.”
The 9 Iron Grill will continue to provide table service until December 31, 2018.
Fee waived for actors’ mission
In other council action, the board voted unanimously to waive the $20,000 city water connection fee for the new Actor’s Mission building on South Main Street. A dozen members from Actors’ Mission appeared at last night’s meeting to assist in making the request.
Prior to approval, Mayor Carl Demshar complemented the organization on the appearance of their new headquarters, after having moved out of their former Elks Club location.
“We support what you are doing,” Demshar said.
Currently, until their new facility is ready for use, the Actors’ Mission is using the Broadway Theatre for their productions.
Garbage collection ordinance not popular with Armstrong
Councilman Jason Armstrong vehemently criticized a proposed garbage collection ordinance at its first reading. The proposed ordinance would raise the garbage collection fee to $20 per month in 2019, with annual dollar-per-month increases for each year through 2024.
Armstrong said that new services may not be viable under the proposed new garbage collection pricing structure, and that residents would not have the freedom to choose which service provider and price they desire.
“The price ceilings in place provides no benefit to the citizens of Rock Springs,” Armstrong said.
As for the possibility that lack of a price ceiling might lead to price gouging on the part of the monopoly garbage collector, Armstrong declared that the moment that such an event occurred, other garbage collection providers would appear on the scene, offering lower prices and better service.
Armstrong requested that the ordinance not be enacted, although he acknowledged that further discussion of the issue would be necessary at the upcoming Nov. 20 council meeting. No other councilmen provided comment on the proposed garbage ordinance at the Tuesday meeting.