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No alcohol at Wells Community Center

By Staff | May 19, 2019

A recommendation from the city staff of Wells was on the table during the Wells City Council meeting last Monday, May 13. The recommendation was to no longer allow alcohol at the Wells Community Center.

“We were just looking at the current rates to rent the community center and feel there are plenty of other places in the community which can serve alcohol,” said city administrator CJ?Holl. “When the city ran on-sale operations, we would direct folks to work with the liquor store for liquor use at the community center. As of now, we don’t have the same ability to provide qualified servers.”

The options in front of the council were to:

Continue allowing alcohol with an increased rental fee, requiring a server or caterer to provide appropriate documented certification,

Process rentals as temporary, one-day liquor license applications. As with others, guests would have to provide insurance information and provide a certified server/caterer for alcohol,

Discontinue alcohol service at the community center and have one rate.

Currently, it costs $50 per side with a deposit to rent the Wells Community Center, and with the addition of serving alcohol, a rate of $100 per side plus a deposit is required. Rates are approved annually with the city’s fee schedule.

Holl, Chief of Police Tim Brenegan, and deputy clerk Jennie Kloos all recommended the city discontinue alcohol availability at the community center.

Their rationale had three main points: there are more facilities in town that are better set up to handle serving alcohol (including the new space at the Wells VFW, the soon-to-be-open Golden Bubble, Jake’s Pizza, and the American Legion), liability of having alcohol at the city facility is questionable, and the image of the community center itself should be seen as a family-friendly gathering place for civic events versus a party room.

“I don’t remember how this serving alcohol at the community center even started,”?said long-time active council member John Herman.

“This is a city-owned entity,” said Brenegan. “Allowing alcohol serving here would be like if someone was drinking at the library.”

A motion was made and both John Herman and Jessica Mortenson voted in favor of no longer serving alcohol at the Wells Community Center, while council members Crystal Dulas and Brenda Weber voted against it. Mayor David Braun voted in favor of no longer serving alcohol at the community center to break the tie vote.

In other topics the Wells council:

Heard public comment from Merrily Burns of Our Town USA, who invited members of the council to a town hall meeting on May 22, at 6:30 p.m. at the Bricelyn Community Center.

Watched a presentation from Aron Welch of USC’s FariCares Coalition informing the council on what the coalition hopes to achieve, which includes reducing the use of alcohol by area students.

Spoke with Layne Kockelman of Abdo Eick & Meyers as he presented the city’s 2018 financial audit.

Received an update from street foreman Mike Pyzick and city engineer Travis Winter on the Highway 22 infrastructure televising. Winter stated there are issues that need to be resolved and addressed after witnessing the televising. He shared the issues are concerning enough that he will be meeting with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to discuss the needs and replacement of the utilities running underneath the highway. Street foreman Pyzick stated he was shocked that the sanitary sewer was not worse than it was and stated the infrastructure dates back to the 1940s.

Approved Smith Concrete, of Blue Earth, for the 2019 sidewalk priority projects at the cost of $7,951.

Approved city Resolution 2019-12, authorizing the city to execute a MnDOT airport maintenance and operation grant contract, allowing provisional assistance for maintenance and operation activities.

Heard from city engineer Winter with regards to the old USC football field boring results. Winter stated there were typical fill and till soils found in the boring and that he would be moving to the next phase of the project which will be a full storm water report to see if the city will benefit from a storm water retention pond in that area.