De Pere to use beer garden dollars to help fund playground
By Lee Reinsch
DE PERE – The Legion Park playground will be the first beneficiary of Voyageur Park’s beer garden revenue.
The De Pere Common Council voted unanimously Tuesday, Dec. 7, to direct $28,292 from the beer gardens’ first two seasons – which totals $135,000 – to upgrade the 20-year-old playground.
Though Alderperson Dan Carpenter voted in favor, he said he’d prefer the city let the beer garden money accumulate over a few more seasons into a larger sum that could pay for a more substantial project.
“The park is a $200,000 project,” Carpenter said, referring to the cost of the playground, plus the estimated $60,000 in repairs needed for Legion Park’s ball diamond. “You put $30,000 toward it and who’s to say we’re going to have $170,000 next year to do it. So, does it just linger?”
City Administrator Larry Delo said the intent is for the Legion Park playground upgrade to be done in 2023.
This is the first designation of beer garden dollars since it’s launch in 2019.
The events weren’t held in 2020 because of the pandemic, but resumed in 2021.
Director of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Marty Kosobucki said citizens had been asking how the beer garden money was being used, and the Board of Park Commissioners recommeneded the money needed a formal plan.
The council authorized the rental of a 6,000-square-foot storage facility in Greenleaf for $1,200 a month to store Department of Public Works (DPW) vehicles – including leaf trucks, street sweepers, engineering vehicles and snow plows.
The vehicles were previously stored at the city’s wastewater treatment plant on Leonard Street. In 2020, however, the building was demolished, leaving the department without a home for its equipment.
Since then, it has had to store its vehicles outdoors at the De Pere Municipal Service Center, but DPW staff said the elements are causing vehicles to deteriorate.
City Council President Jonathon Hansen questioned the impact the rental space would have on the expansion plans of the city’s Municipal Service Center.
“The need for expansion still exists,” Director of the Department of Public Works Scott Thoresen said. “This is just a temporary fix. The issue we’ve been having is the equipment is being stored outside and we’ve had a tremendous amount of repairs because of (the vehicles) sitting outside in the elements. The expansion is still needed.”