During last Monday’s meeting, the city council went into closed session to discuss last month’s incident involving underage drinking at Rehab tavern, 631 Broadway Street South in Menomonie.
Although the council did not take action on the matter, Mayor Randy Knaack said it would be an item that they would revisit in a future meeting.
“We want to know what’s going on with the drinking community downtown,” Knaack said.
On April 12, police responded to a situation at Rehab tavern during which 116 alcohol related citations were issued — 45 of them for underage drinking.
Knaack informed the council that Rehab has not had a history of alcohol-related violations and Menomonie Police Chief Eric Atkinson said the establishment has previously been cooperative and has passed compliance checks.
University of Wisconsin-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer referred to the situation as “revolting” in a blog post that went up on April 19 and that he is disappointed to hear so many citations were issued.
Marion Lang of Menomonie Cares and Josh Risler, president of Main Street of Menomonie’s board, spoke during public commenta to thank the council for bringing special attention to the situation.
“This isn’t just a Stout problem, it’s a community problem,” Lang said before referencing a house fire in 2008 that claimed the lives of three young people, all of whom had been shown to be drinking.
Lang told the council she was thankful that law enforcement gave out citations that night because she hopes that is a wake-up call for youth that there are limits and consequences.
“I think the two incidents are related, because what we do today might be an action that can help somebody have a tomorrow,” Lang remarked.
Risler said when he read about the Rehab incident, it was “like a punch to the gut.”
“This is something we take seriously because it’s our neighborhood,” he told the council. “Underage drinking is a big problem, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t take any steps to mitigate or lessen the issue.”