Sewer situation forces Silver Spur to close its doors
BY HALEY JONES
LOVE VALLEY – The owners of the Silver Spur Saloon announced this week that the establishment would cease operations on July 30.
The business has been a staple for Love Valley residents and an attraction for Wild West fans from out of town. With its swinging door entrance and hitching post, the bar and restaurant adds to town’s atmosphere.
The Iredell County Health Department has determined that the sewer system does not comply with county regulations. The saloon could be the first of many closures in the cowboy town as health officials ramp up enforcement efforts.
The issue stems from the discharge of wastewater into a local pond. The Town of Love Valley received its first notice of violation on July 21 of 2015 from the health department.
After issuing several additional notices of violation and extending the deadline for corrective action by more than a year, the Health Department sent notices to 13 residents and business owners connected to the problematic sewer system.
The notice read that residents must eliminate wastewater discharge within 30 days or be subject to legal ramifications, such as injunctive relief, suspension of permits, criminal penalties or administrative penalties for each day the violation continues.
Those notices were issued on December 27 of last year.
Many residents felt the notice was unfair because of the choices it offered: continue to operate on the wastewater system or live without water.
Silver Spur management said in a social media post that they “will continue to evaluate (the) situation and monitor the sewer's progress to determine when the Spur may be able to reopen.”
There is hope for a long-term solution. The Town of Love Valley received a $400,000 USDA grant in June of 2016 to develop a pump-and-haul sewer system. The system will be connected to the 13 taps in question, in addition to a new septic tank. The sewage from the tank would be pumped by the Town of Harmony, and disposed of at a cost of 12 cents per gallon. The system would satisfy the requirements of both state and county officials.
Questions still remain about the affordability of the new system to residents and the permanency of the system.
Responses to the saloon’s announcement were abundant with many offering their sympathies and others expressing shock at news of the closing. One patron said that this could be “the death of Love Valley.” Others expressed frustration at the mayor and other town officials for not resolving the sewer problems.
Silver Spur owner Bill Powers and managers Kevin and Michelle Davidson spent their last weekend hosting customer appreciation nights, with food and beverage specials and live bands.
They are holding out hope that the closure is only temporary.
“Thank you to all who have supported us these last four wonderful years,” the wrote on social media. “We love you all and will miss you while we take this short break. We hold many fond memories since we’ve had the pleasure of running the Spur and we look forward to the day that the sewer issue is resolved so that the Town, the Spur, and all the business can thrive. Hopefully we will be seeing you all soon!”