By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN Although the Winsted City Council gave its approval Tuesday for Keg’s Bar and Papa Tom’s Bar and Grill to lease the lakefront promenade for a street dance Friday, Aug. 7 as part of the Winsted Summer Festival, the bar owners cancelled their plans for a street dance.
This prompted the festival committee to seek replacement music for the festival weekend. “The committee will be supplying entertainment that evening,” commented Dale Maus of the committee.
Plans made by the bar owners were cancelled due to expenses for insurance, security, and additional bartenders needed for the street dance made Brian Langenfeld, owner of Keg’s Bar, and Tom Sudheimer, owner of Papa Tom’s Bar and Grill, reconsider hosting the street dance this year, Langenfeld said in a phone conversation Wednesday night.
Langenfeld had left the council meeting Tuesday unsure of what plans he would be making after asking the council for its help in covering unexpected and growing expenses for the Friday night street dance the two bar owners were hosting.
Because the idea of the street dance down on the lakefront was so well received by the city and the summer festival committee, Langenfeld was hoping to get some help with some of the expenses or at least to share them with the city because it is a city-wide event.
Just wanting to break even for the night, Langenfeld asked for help with security. “Who takes care of the park and the lakefront area on Saturday and Sunday?” Langenfeld asked.
“There is a little difference,” Council Member Tom Ollig said. “First off, I want to see this happen. But it is a community festival. When it is down in the park, it is volunteered by the city and the chamber. What you are asking to do is a private business for profit.”
“I think if this was a sanctioned event for the summer festival and half of the profits were going to the businesses and half of the profits were going to the festival, I would probably look at it differently,” Ollig said.
“What you are doing is making money, and I think the summer festival is doing you a favor by having the fireworks draw the people,” Ollig said.
The council offered suggestions to help the bar owners, but said it did not want to set a precedent in case another establishment would want to do something during the summer festival and would ask the city for help.
Council Member Tom Wiemiller asked Langenfeld if he had thought about raising the price of a drink to cover expenses?
City Attorney Fran Eggert suggested considering a cover charge.
Council Member Dave Mochinski questioned the need for the four sheriff posse members Police Chief Mike Henrich had recommended to cover the area for security reasons.
“Seems to me, with an area fenced in this small, do we need four? Seems to me, we can do it with two,” Mochinski said.
“Until they get tied up,” Henrich said. “If we get one fight, it ties up at least two, if not four of our guys. . . One minor or one DWI and my guys are gone for a couple of hours. That is what you have to plan for. You can’t just plan to cover when nothing happens. You have to plan for things that can happen. The head of the posse is in agreement four would be an adequate number of men needed to cover the area for security.”
Henrich offered to use only two of the posse members in the dance area and two in the park area as back-up, which would cut security expenses in half.
The bar owners had already decided to end the dance at midnight, which cut some insurance expenses, as well.
But it did not cut enough of the expenses to make the street dance work out for the bar owners this year.
“Finding out more of the numbers we are looking at,” Langenfeld said, “maybe we can make it work for next year, but we would go about it in a different way.”
The summer festival has a rock and roll band scheduled to play at Hainlin Park Saturday, Aug. 8 at 6:30 p.m., and the modern country band, the Dixie Hicks play Sunday, Aug. 9 at 3 p.m.
After learning the bar owners had cancelled the street dance for Friday evening, the festival committee made plans to offer some kind of substitute.
More details about the festival will follow in the Herald Journal’s Aug. 3 issue.
Public hearing to regulate background checks
A public hearing is set for Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers to consider an ordinance regulating background checks required by certain ordinances within the municipal code.
PeopleService talks pond abandonment
Dan Wroge of PeopleService gave the council an update on pond abandonment.
According to Wroge, water has been pumped out of the ponds all spring and, right now, with the weather being dry, the ponds have dried up and the sludge is drying out.
“I think it would be a good time if the city would have somebody with a dozer push all of that dried sludge up from the ponds. That way, next spring we don’t have to pump the water out and re-dry it.
Wroge told the council it would cost about $130 an hour to hire a bulldozer to do an estimated 15 to 20 hours of work.
“Can we do it with our pay loader?” Mochinski said.
“You could try it. I don’t know how solid the bottom is,” Wroge said. “It should be solid because it has a clay liner in there. It is possible.”
Mochinski said he would like to have the city maintenance department look at doing this rather than spending money on outside vendors.
“They could spend an hour here or there,” Mochinski said.
Wroge thought it could work.
City Administrator Brent Mareck asked if it could get done in the fall because the maintenance department was busy until September.
Wroge offered PeopleService using city equipment to do some of it.
“I wouldn’t have a problem with it,” Mochinski said. “If they understood the pay loader you could probably save us some man hours. I would be willing to learn more about that.”
Mareck asked Wroge if he would use a pay loader or a bulldozer.
“I would go with a dozer because I know it would not spin out,” Wroge said.
“I will stick with my original plan, and see if we can do it ourselves,” Mochinski said. “I don’t know why you can’t do this into the fall and even into the winter.”
Mayor Steve Stotko told Wroge to talk with the maintenance department and see what they say.
Wroge ended by telling the council he would be hauling another 200,000 gallons of sludge out of the tanks this fall.
It is the same amount he had hauled out the previous year.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved a salary step increase for Clerk/Treasurer Deb Boelter from $23.79 to $24.50 an hour.
• approved a seasonal part-time position for Matt Williams at a rate of $10 per hour.
• accepted a $500 donation from Winstock Festival/Holy Trinity for the Winsted Volunteer Fire Department’s expansion fund.
• approved an agreement with Schindler Elevator to perform inspection and maintenance from July 14, 2009 to July 13, 2014, payable in annual installments of $780.