Fisher declining to lease portion of city park to bar
FISHER — Fisher's new sports bar, Tailgaters Chill & Grill, has already advertised today's opening of its new beer garden. But that is not going to happen.
The village board declined to lease a portion of the city park to the business to use for a live band performance and to serve alcohol. Trustee Deb Estes made the motion to lease the park to the business but her motion died for lack of a second.
Trustees Kevin Henderson and Roger Ponton were adamantly opposed to the lease because of the risk of liability to the village. Ponton, as a bar owner in Thomasboro, knows first-hand what it's like to be sued after an alcohol-related accident.
Trustee Jason Matthias said he wasn't necessarily opposed to the lease. "I don't want to hamstring them with what if, what if," he said. And Estes said she has never wavered in support of businesses.
Those making public comments at Thursday's board meeting also opposed the lease.
Richard Sullivan owns another restaurant that serves alcohol. Sullivan said he didn't think city land should be leased to a private entity for their benefit. "What makes this band so special (for a one-time performance)? They've had bands before. This is just overflow space to them," Sullivan said.
Other residents were concerned about the noise, even though under provisions of the lease the music would have had to stop at 10:30 p.m. Mayor Milt Kelly noted the lease as drawn up would violate the noise provision in the current liquor ordinance.
And others were concerned about the vintage fire engine on display in a portion of the park, though it would be fenced off from where the beer garden would be. Kelly noted that the glass in the vehicle dates from the 1970s and is plate glass, not the current auto glass that crumples. That could make for an accident and further liability.
But Tailgaters owner Adam Sparrow may not be shut out of the beer garden proposal forever. Several trustees said they could support selling the property to him as long as it is done in fair, advertised way, taking bids for the property.