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Marathon tables vote on tavern tournament

Marathon tables vote on tavern tournament Marathon tables vote on tavern tournament

COVID-19 is sticking point

The Marathon City Village Board last week Wednesday split over whether to grant Arrow Tap, a Main Street tavern, permission on Sept. 6 to sponsor a bean bag tournament in a village- owned parking lot east of the bar. Instead of holding what would likely be a contested vote, the board postponed a decision until August.

Joe Buchberger, Arrow Tap owner, requested use of the parking lot where between an estimated 80 to 100 people over Labor Day weekend would play bean bag games while drinking alcoholic beverages. The bar owner asked to extend his legal premises to serve alcohol to both the parking lot and the front of his tavern. Trustee Connie Ruplinger said she opposed the tournament, citing an uptick in COVID- 19 cases in Marathon County. “I am really against having this happen,” the board member said. “IF COVID-19 gets worse, how do we control social distancing?” Ruplinger said the village would take on COVID-19 liability if it granted use of the village parking lot for the tournament and people became sick with the coronavirus. “If this took place in the Arrow Tap, that would be their issue, not the village’s issue,” she argued. “If it happens on the parking lot, we could possibly have liability.”

Village president Dave Bellanger and trustee Keith Paul, both Main Street business owners, argued in favor of granting Arrow Tap to hold its Labor Day weekend event.

The village president said the tavern should be allowed to hold a bean bag tournament as long as others in other municipalities were legally able to gather for large protests in recent weeks. He said the village should not abuse its power.

“We shouldn’t use that power when it comes to the bar,” he said.

Paul argued that granting Arrow Tap permission for a bean bag tournament would only be consistent with rules governing other village facilities.

“I struggle with this,” he said. “I don’t see how we can issue permits for people to hold graduation parties in Veterans Park but not allow Arrow Tap to hold an outdoor event.”

Ruplinger responded that village administrator Andy Kurtz will need to stop issuing permits to use village parks should the COVID-19 case count continue to spike.

“If COVID-19 gets worse, Andy won’t allow graduation parties, either,” she said.

Administrator Kurtz said the board could wait a month, review COVID-19 statistics then and take a vote on Buchberger’s request based on that information.

Kurtz said Arrow Tap regularly holds a bean bag tournament over the Fun Days weekend. Fun Days has been canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

In other village business:

_ Board members selected Jeff Lawrence to fill a village board vacancy and Bruce Bohr an open seat on the Marathon Utility Commission.

Bohr, a retired engineer at Greenheck Fan, Schofield, was selected to the commission following an interview where he answered board questions.

Board members said Bohr’s engineering background would be an asset on the commission.

_ Village administrator Kurtz reported that work is underway to remodel what was a failing building at 704 Sixth Street. The village board issued a raze order for the residential home to be scrapped.

He said that Superion, Marathon County’s law enforcement software, would be installed in the village in August. Kurtz said touchless soap and paper towel dispensers have been installed at the Veteran’s Park bathrooms. The facilities, which are open only two to three hours per day, are cleaned daily due to COVID-19.

He said a glass barrier for the Marathon City village office was under construction at Rib Mountain Glass and would be installed within the next few weeks. Currently, he said, the public can access the village hall by appointment.

_ Board members voted to have American Asphalt, Mosinee, install multiple asphalt patches on Walnut Street between Third and Fourth Streets for $53,262.

_ The board agreed to have Chippewa Concrete replace curb and gutter and sidewalk on Market Street for $19,112. Administrator Kurtz said water on the hilly street undermined the sidewalks.

Trustee Mark Ahrens said the erosion problem affected many places on Market Street and worried that any fix would be short-lived.

Trustee Keith Paul abstained from the vote. He is a Market Street resident.

_ Board members extended Industrial 2 zoning to Fourth Street parcels recently acquired by Marathon Cheese Corp. for an expansion project as recommended by the village planning commission. Trustee Ahrens abstained from the vote.

_ It was reported that River Country Cooperative planned to move its oil tanks and fertilizer operations from the village to Marathon Feed, Inc. on STH 107 in the town of Cassel.

_ The village board directed administrator Kurtz to come up with ways to offer bathrooms in Lions Riverside Park without the facilities being prone to constant vandalism.

Kurtz reported that the bathrooms were chronically damaged by vandals and had been for years. He suggested closing the facilities.

Trustees, however, said Big Rib River kayakers were increasingly using the park and that some kind of bathroom facilities should be made available.

Jeff Lawrence

Bruce Bohr