Two Chippewa Falls businesses were again up for consideration for an open liquor license within the city — nearly a year to the day after being denied by the city for a separate vacant license.
Blue Marble Pub and Micon Cinemas presented their cases Tuesday for the vacant Class B license to the city’s Committee of the Whole, comprised of all the Chippewa Falls City Council members.
The committee recommended Blue Marble Pub be awarded the license, and the city council approved the move at its following meeting that same evening.
Blue Marble Pub and Micon Cinemas were beat out by Sakura Japanese Restaurant for a vacant liquor license in August 2017 after The Lodge closed in early 2017.
Heather Marble, owner of the pub, reiterated her 2017 argument for approval, citing her desire to focus on selling locally distilled booze. Marble added that she would offer a limited amount of liquor to keep choices simple.
On Tuesday evening, Marble also told the committee she believes she is losing business to those who don’t want to drink beer, given her close proximity to the Leinie Lodge and the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds.
Blue Marble Pub is located kiddie-corner to the Chippewa County Courthouse and the Leinie Lodge on the other side, at 819 High Street.
With Oktoberfest coming up in September, Marble feared she would lose customers who are looking for a liquor break from beer.
“When they’re full on that beer, they want a mixed drink,” Marble said. “It’s a substantial amount, but it’s not to where I can’t operate without it. I’d like more options, especially local options.”
Michael Olson, president of Micon Cinemas, and Constance Olson, vice president of Micon Cinemas, were hoping to have continuity with their Eau Claire theater by the same name, which serves liquor.
Michael told the committee Tuesday that while they don’t lose movie sales for having a lack of liquor at their Chippewa Falls location, they do lose an extra sale in the establishment from disappointed customers who want mixed drinks.
“People like to go to the movies and have a choice in refreshments,” Michael said.
After the committee’s vote and while leaving the council chambers, Constance said, “Last year it was based on how long someone had applied for it, so that’s disappointing.”
When Timber Terrace decided against opening in 2018, it had to give up its liquor license, since it was no longer operating at least 20 hours per week, City Clerk Bridget Givens previously told the Herald.
Givens contacted both the pub and the theater about the 2018 availability. Blue Marble Pub was the first to apply this summer.
The number of licenses a city can give out is based on population. Chippewa Falls is just 40 people away from obtaining another license, Givens told the committee Tuesday.
TIFs move forward
Based on a Joint Committee recommendation, the city of Chippewa Falls has amended its TIF district 5 — the city’s only distressed district — to take some its land to add to the creation of a new TIF district, TID 15.
The new district features state-owned land, and though there are not any plans slated for the new district, City Planner Brad Hentschel said the move is a way for the city to plan for any future progress as it reaches its TIF value cap.
City ponders a new committee
The Committee of the Whole debated adding another committee to its roster. The new committee would be focused on economic development.
The Chippewa County Economic Development Corp., a private group that promotes and supports economic development within Chippewa County, receives money from the city every year.
This year, the city paid $5,000 to the committee.
No city council representatives sit on the corporation’s board. A Chippewa Falls business representative is on the board, and a board member does report to the city.
No action was taken on the item.
‘Keep out’ at Glen Loch
The city read in its first reading of an ordinance barring swimming and boating within 50 feet upstream of the dam.
The addition of the buoys is funded by a $32,000 matching grant the city received from the Wisconsin DNR to update the dam, including repairing the dam’s two doors, City Engineer Rick Rubenzer said.
Fencing and improvements along the edge of the area will also be added.
On Tuesday evening, Chippewa Falls resident Jack Covill expressed his disapproval of the move to add buoys near the dam, citing his fond childhood memories and chances for danger in everyday activities, not just swimming near the dam.
“I swam there, my mother swam there, my kids swam there... most of my friends,” Covill said. “I think people have been swimming there for 100 years... With the obesity and drug abuse the way it is, I don’t know why (you would) take this away.”
Rubenzer added Tuesday that swimming at Glen Loch will still be open, but just not within 50 feet of the dam.
Erickson Park, a disability-friendly park and fishing pier under construction, will overlook Glen Loch Dam.
City enters closed session
The regular city council entered into close session Tuesday to discuss “potential tax increment financing incentives and a developers agreement for a project in the Lake Wissota Business Park – TID #14.”
The city did not disclose details.
Read more about the city’s addition of a new TIF district, updates at Glen Loch Dam and liquor license additions at www.chippewa.com.