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Thiensville to consider beer garden bid proposals

Trustees still not certain of how it would operate

Dec. 4, 2013

Thiensville — The Village Board on Dec. 16 will consider soliciting proposals for a Village Park beer garden.

The board on Monday, meeting as a Committee of the Whole, unanimously recommended that the full Village Board consider sending out a request for proposal for a beer garden at the two concession stands at Village Park. Trustees Kim Beck and Ron Heinritz were excused.

The 16-page draft RFP, available on the village website, includes a number of guidelines and regulations for the possible beer garden, and is based on the RFP which resulted in the Estabrook Beer Garden operated by the Milwaukee County Parks System and Old German Beer Hall. The draft includes a minimum 15 percent of beer garden sales going to Thiensville, though officials are open to negotiation on the financial underpinnings of the agreement. Committee members on Monday modified the draft to prohibit the beer garden from being open during community events like Lionsfest or Family Fun Before the Fourth.

If approved at the meeting on Dec. 16, the RFP is expected to be sent in January with proposals expected back by late-February.

Concept OK'd in spring

In the spring the Village Board approved in concept a beer garden supplied and operated by Glendale-based Sprecher Brewing Company, though details hadn't been worked out at the time. Afterward, members of the Ozaukee County Tavern League said the beer garden should be operated by a local owner. Two such local owners, Bob and Amy Ollman of downtown Thiensville bar and grille Remington's River Inn submitted their own proposal in June. A fleshed-out proposal from Sprecher was not submitted.

By late June the Village Board decided to hold off on the beer garden idea until 2014.

Though the trustees were unanimous in their recommendation Monday, there were some lingering doubts about the project, particularly parking and whether residents would want to have the beer garden running most of the week throughout the summer.

"I don't know how you could run a five or six night a week deal," Trustee Ken Kucharski said.

Residents wanted it

Trustee Rob Holyoke, however, said the biggest complaint he heard from residents in 2013 was that the Village Board didn't go ahead with the beer garden.

"People wanted a beer garden," Holyoke said.

Village President Van Mobley emphasized that the village is more in the business of providing essential services and less in creating beer gardens.

"That's an ancillary thing that would be nice in some people's eyes," Mobley said, "but that's not a priority of the village."

Before their vote, the trustees agreed that sending out the request for proposal doesn't commit the village to the idea or set any particulars in stone.

"I think to make an informed decision, we need to get that RFP out there and see what's out there," Holyoke said.

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