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Beer garden becomes issue

Some officials don't want alcohol at Paint the Town

MORRISON – Does Morrison want a beer garden and a late-night band as part of a family event?

That became an issue during Monday's City Council meeting.

Hero's Tap, a Main Street bar, asked the city to permit it to have a beer garden and food court at Community State Bank's parking lot during the annual Paint the Town weekend.

The event, in which residents paint temporary designs on downtown streets, is Sept. 21-22.

Hero's Tap wants a band to play outside from noon until midnight or 12:30 a.m. The fenced beer garden would end at 1 a.m. on the first night.

"Any chance we can turn off the music at 11?" Alderman Dale Eizenga asked.

Shane Gallentine of Hero's Tap said no.

"Shutting down early could make the difference between making money or not," he said.

Aldermen Curt Bender and Harvey Zuidema questioned the idea of a beer garden.

"This takes it to a new level, bringing a beer garden to a family event," Bender said.

"There is a place for beer gardens," Zuidema said. "This is not the place."

Wendy Gallentine of Hero's Tap said she met with the Paint the Town committee about doing something.

"They wanted to draw more people to the event," she said. "That was our reason for doing it."

Asked for his opinion, Police Chief Brian Melton said he wanted more information on security measures. 

"I have a lot of concerns before I support it or not," he said. "I'll ride the fence."

The council voted to delay consideration of the issue until a special session expected later this week. Officials asked Hero's Tap to provide more details.

"They need to do a plan, a real plan," Zuidema said.

In other business

Also at Monday's Morrison City Council meeting:

– Mayor Everett Pannier said he likely would call a special session for later this week to pick a new city administrator. Saturday, the council interviewed four candidates behind closed doors. 

Pannier, who took office in May, announced at his first meeting that he wouldn't renew the contract of Jim Wise, who served as administrator for 2 years.

– John Kuehl of Spencer's Automotive urged the council to pass an ordinance to allow people to drive ATVs, golf carts and other low-speed vehicles on city streets. Other towns have permitted such vehicles, which must include safety equipment such as lights and turn signals, he said.

Under such ordinances, Kuehl said, drivers must be licensed and vehicles insured.

Panner said the city would look at Kuehl's proposal.

In 2010, the state enacted a law allowing such vehicles on streets with speed limits of 30 mph or less. 

– The council unanimously approved a new swimming pool ordinance that requires at least a 4-foot fence around a pool that is more than 2 feet tall. Temporary, soft-sided pools are largely exempted.

Owners must be in compliance by next spring.

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