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Opposition arises to proposed beer garden in Greendale park

Feb. 3, 2014

Opposition surfaced Monday to a proposed beer garden at Milwaukee County's Scout Lake Park in Greendale, including fears from nearby residents of increased crime, noise and littering.

The park's small size and mostly wooded area coupled with its proximity to an elementary school would make it a poor choice for a beer garden, said Sonja O'Brien, who lives near the park on the 5800 block of Lakeview Drive.

The beer garden would be on or near a half-mile path around Scout Lake, which is heavily used by children, families and elderly walkers, O'Brien said. Small side paths into wooded areas could provide cover for misdeeds, she said.

"It's the perfect environment for criminals and stalkers," O'Brien told the County Board's parks committee. She said she might get a concealed carry permit to arm herself in the park if the beer garden is approved.

Scout Lake Park is at 5902 W. Loomis Road.

Gerry Broderick, the parks committee chairman, also voiced reservations, saying the Scout Lake Park Beer Garden plan calls for turning over control of the park's pavilion to the beer concession operator.

"People are going to be distressed by being displaced from what they feel is a public facility," Broderick said.

The beer garden for Scout Lake Park was proposed by Hans Weissgerber III, who has run the Estabrook Park Beer Garden since 2012. That operation has been hailed as a great success by county park officials.

County made money

The county was paid about $125,000 in 2013 through its commission on Estabrook beer and food sales. The county would get the same 20% cut of beer and 10% cut of food sales from the Scout Lake Park Beer Garden, under Weissgerber's proposal.

He envisions a family atmosphere patterned after Milwaukee beer gardens of a century ago and more modern German versions.

Weissgerber is seeking a 10-year lease for a Scout Lake beer garden.

Jim Keegan, director of parks planning and development, said he was unaware of any problems arising at the Estabrook Park Beer Garden in its two years of operation.

The parks committee took no action on the Scout Lake plan. Broderick said he'd originally planned a vote this week, but decided the issue needed more time for public airing.

Twitter: twitter.com/SteveSchultzeJS

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