Officials plan to hold open house for neighbors

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

A proposed beer garden at Devor Park, just outside the premises of the Burlington Community Aquatic Center, has been placed on hold until the Pool Board discusses the matter with neighbors.

The matter was originally placed on the July 7 Common Council agenda, however, officials tabled it as some community members and neighbors of the park expressed concerns.

Resident John Maltby was one of the neighbors who criticized the proposed beer garden.

“The pool and park were meant to be for the recreation of our youth and families, not to serve as an extension of local bars,” Maltby wrote in a letter to the editor to the Standard Press (see page 4).

Bob Grandi, aldermanic representative of the Pool Board, stressed the proposal would not cause any issues in the neighborhood and plans to hold an open house.

“The open house will be an opportunity to share specifics about the plan and provide neighbors an opportunity to ask questions and discuss the project with the Board,” he said. “The Pool Board feels it is very important to continue to be good neighbors.”

The proposed beer garden, according to city documents, would provide a small gathering area only accessible outside the pool and serve beer as well as some minor food items.

Additionally, hours would be limited, running from 5 until 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays as well as some Saturdays and Sundays.

Grandi said the Pool Board’s objective is to create a safe and family-friendly environment.

“Just as during the design of the pool, the design of the beer garden is meant to keep the area safe for all patrons,” he said. “An important feature is that there will not be access to the pool area from the garden.”

The Pool Board, which held discussions with the Park Board, does not plan on creating a large beer garden similar to other municipalities.

According to preliminary plans, it will consist of a patio area large enough to hold eight tables, low-level string lighting and decorative roping around the perimeter and shade structures.

“It will be done very tastefully and funded entirely by the Pool Board at no cost to taxpayers,” Grandi said.

The Pool Board estimates the total cost of the project would come in around $26,000.

While the Pool Board committed to fund the beer garden, according to Grandi, the venue would keep pool fees affordable for families.

“The Burlington Pool Board is a nonprofit organization and does not receive taxpayer money to operate the pool,” Grandi said.

“The garden will serve as an additional revenue stream to keep fees low while maintaining a safe and beautiful recreational experience for families to enjoy.”

 

Different atmosphere

Beer gardens have grown in popularity in recent years and have family-friendly features, including some in Racine and Kenosha counties, according to Grandi.

Grandi noted the Franksville beer garden has a sandbox and play area for children connected to the structure.

Kenosha County Parks, meanwhile, employs an outside contractor to operate a beer garden at Petrifying Springs Park next to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside campus.

The Petrifying Springs beer garden sits near amenities such as hiking trails and a dog park.

“There are many beer gardens in the area and they continue to grow in popularity,” Grandi said. “People go to beer gardens for the atmosphere and to be outside with family and friends. It’s a very different clientele than what you would find in a bar.”

Unlike a bar, which closes at 2 a.m., the proposed beer garden’s operating hours would run until 8 p.m.

Hoyt Park Pool in Wauwatosa, like the Burlington Community Aquatic Center, is run by a non-profit group and features a popular beer garden. The Landing beer garden, however, is on a much larger scale than the one proposed for Burlington, according to pool officials.