By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – An axe-throwing establishment in the Bay Park Square was granted a Class B beer license last month by the village board.
The application from Blades & Boards stated all sales will happen at the front counter with alcohol consumption taking place inside the venue.
Village President Mary Kardoskee said the venue would not have a free-standing kiosk in Bay Park Square serving alcohol.
“It’s like the axe-throwing place that’s up on Ridge Road,” she said.
Trustee Jay Krueger said he was concerned about mixing alcohol with axe throwing, but the owners of Blades & Boards assured him the business tries to limit participants to two beers.
Rachel Rowell of Blades & Boards said the business has two other locations in Wausau and Oshkosh and has been involved in axe throwing for almost five years.
“We’re over-the-top safe, very family-friendly,” she said.
Rowell said Blades & Board, first and foremost, is an axe-throwing facility.
“We love to have that mom and dad and their 12- and 14-year-old… come in,” she said. “We have axe coaches. Every one of my team members are trained on safety and all of that. I do have actual professional axe throwers that are your coaches. They teach you how to throw, and then they stay with you and monitor you as you’re throwing.”
Rowell said axe throwing is “the new bowling.”
“There are games to play, all of that type of thing,” she said. “It’s really just good family fun.”
Trustee Tracy Flucke, who cast the lone dissenting vote, said she didn’t think axes and alcohol mixed very well.
Flucke also expressed concerns about having alcohol available in Bay Park Square.
Rowell said Blades & Boards would be selling beer and cider, not hard liquor.
“I allow food to be brought in, so it’s cost-effective to families,” she said. “If they want to bring in a pizza, or they want to bring in their (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) from home, dad can have a beer while they eat their pizza.”
Rowell said Blades & Boards is not a bar.
“I get very vocal when put into that category because I am not that category at all,” she said. “It’s solely just another option for – like I said – a beer… just like you would have a beer at a bowling alley or a beer at Friday night fish fry with your family.”
Rowell said the locations in Wausau and Oshkosh serve beer.
“The real difference between my locations and any other axe house out there is that I individualize the lanes,” she said. “A lot of axe houses will put two targets together, and they don’t individualize. I individualize not only each individual lane with chain link and wood… but behind, so you’re throwing distance is 12 feet, when you’re throwing a typical Estwing axe. We extend that 17 feet, so there is plenty of space, and never is a spectator allowed in that area or around where that would be. We have a huge distance between the thrower and where the spectator would be.”
Trustee Gary Paul said he hadn’t heard any complaints about the axe-throwing facility on Ridge Road, and as long as Blades & Boards would monitor alcohol consumption and have people protected, he didn’t have a problem with it.
Rowell said axe throwing won’t be sustainable as a sport if it isn’t taken seriously in a controlled environment.
Kardoskee said alcohol is already allowed in an establishment in the mall with Dave & Buster’s granted a liquor license.
“And that (restaurant) is actually geared for children,” she said.
Village Manager Joel Gregozeski said maintaining a two-drink limit for individuals participating in axe throwing would be acceptable to run the business in a safe manner.
“We’ve never had an incident at either location, and it’s been almost five years,” Rowell said. “There just won’t be.”
In other action, the board approved a site plan for Nielson Communications to build a 3,000-square-foot garage addition to the south side of its existing building at 645 Mike McCarthy Way.
Gregozeski said the plan calls for the exterior materials to primarily be metal wall panels, which are required under the village code to have concealed fasteners.
He said a minimum 3-foot masonry wainscot is also required for all new metal wall panels.
Gregozeski said the asphalt parking lot will be extended and have curbing as required by the code, with a dumpster enclosure relocated to the west side of the parking lot among the trees.
Because the property is located in the village’s Sports & Entertainment zoning district, the site plan required final approval by the board after being recommended last month by the Plan Commission.