City plans to lease the picnic shelter at the Arrington Lagoon to a restaurant operator came under fire at the 1st Ward meeting Thursday night.
Holly Reynolds, whose home at 204 Davis St. has a view of the lagoon, said the idea “goes against decades of effort by countless people to keep our lakefront free of any commercialization.”
Her husband, David Reyolds, said it appeared no work has been done by the city “to determine whether this would be a feasible project and what the city would give up to have alcohol served at the Arrington Lagoon.”
Holly Reynolds added that some years ago people thought it would be nice if people could have a glass of wine with a picnic, so a ban on alcohol in the parks was lifted.
The result she said was that “in front of the History Center you started having serious drug dealing and all night long you had drug dealing and drinking.”
The current city code bars alcohol from all city parks and buildings, except for certain special events.
David Reynolds said the city has only two lakefront shelters — the one at the Arrington Lagoon and another at Lighthouse Beach.
He argued that leasing the lagoon shelter to a commercial vendor would make it unaffordable for people who might want to have their own event there.
Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) said she was excited to see the interest among restaurant owners at a meeting with city staff Thursday morning, but that the city won’t proceed with the project unless it meets the community’s needs.
She said she’s heard from a lot of people who say that “if it’s done right, they would welcome this sort of thing.”