Despite safety concerns, beer garden in Olbrich Park a step clos - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Despite safety concerns, beer garden in Olbrich Park a step closer to reality

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    If you've ever visited Milwaukee County Parks, you may have come across one of their five beer gardens. They've quickly become some of the county's biggest go-to hot spots and now a group of developers want to bring that idea to Madison. BKM Group LLC. is in the process of applying for a liquor license so they can build a beer garden at Olbrich Park.

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    If you've ever visited Milwaukee County Parks, you may have come across one of their five beer gardens. They've quickly become some of the county's biggest go-to hot spots and now a group of developers want to bring that idea to Madison. BKM Group LLC. is in the process of applying for a liquor license so they can build a beer garden at Olbrich Park.

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MADISON (WKOW) --- It's usually illegal to have alcohol in a public park in Madison, but soon the city may be selling beer at one of them.

Ken Rineer goes walking in Olbrich Park along Lake Monona on a regular basis.

"I suppose when it's warmer, I use it almost every day," Rineer said.

The Eastmorland neighborhood resident said he's excited about the proposal to open a beer garden in the park.

"Because I think you could build some community. And I think it will be a nice place in a perfect spot for people to sit and relax and look at the skyline of Madison.”

“The purpose of the beer garden is to have a place where people from the whole community can get together in the afternoon and evening and either have a beer or soft drink or picnic in the area,” said David Ahrens, Madison Alder for District 15.

Ahrens said the beer garden will run about 100 feet along Lake Monona and hold a maximum of 244 people.

But not everyone is thrilled about the proposal.

Madison Alder Paul Skidmore voted against the beer garden, citing safety and security concerns in an email to 27 News, saying in part:

"The applicant refused to install an impermeable barrier (fence) around the perimeter of the licensed establishment to prevent people from migrating in and out without being monitored - this is a violation of the main best practice for an outdoor establishment."

Ahrens said the city will have a strict security plan in place to make sure that everyone stays within the roped off area.

“They'll be a security plan for people watching people coming and going. This establishment will have the strictest alcohol rules service rules in the whole city. For example, you can't go to the counter and buy two beers, you can only buy one beer for yourself when you show identification.”

Despite concerns about people leaving the area with beer, Rineer said he plans to go when it opens.

“I think my partner and I would probably enjoy it.

The proposal cleared its latest hurdle Wednesday night when the city's alcohol license review committee approved the contractor's bid 5 to 2. It still needs to be approved by the full council.

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