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Dawson Fields beer sales being studied

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
May 19, 2010
— Despite previously voting against beer sales at Janesville Jets games, Janesville City Council member Bill Truman said things have gone so well at the ice arena that he has asked city staff to investigate selling beer at Dawson Fields.

No beer-related incidents were reported at the Janesville Ice Skating Center last year during Jets games, Truman said.


Bonnie Davis, recreation director, included beer sales at Dawson Fields in the 2010 budget when council members asked for ways to increase recreation revenue and lower the subsidy. She estimated the city could raise $6,000, Truman said.


The council last year did not go that route.


Truman, also a member of the city's leisure services committee, recently asked staff to investigate the pros and cons of beer sales at the softball complex.


Allowing beer in city parks has always been a touchy issue here. Since 2001, suggestions to do so have been aired by council members or city staff before quickly dying.


Davis said she and her staff would survey a variety of residents involved in softball, including umpires, tavern owners who sponsor teams and police. They also plan to survey other cities, at least some of which serve beer at their ball diamonds.


"We want to get input from everybody," Truman said.


Truman figures most participants would simply have a beer after the game and then head off to patronize their sponsors.


Residents who use Dawson Fields will mostly be members of adult leagues now that the new youth baseball sports complex is opening, Truman said.


Truman acknowledged that public reaction has in the past "went off the charts" after suggestions of drinking beer in parks.


"I've got to see all the pros and cons before even seeing a vote on it," Truman said.


Beer sales would likely help draw tournaments to Janesville, Davis said.


"My charge is to reduce the subsidy," Davis said. "I know from past experience that by serving beer, you can make some money."


If the proposal advances from the leisure services committee, Truman hopes to see the revenue included in the 2011 budget. Budget discussions begin in early fall.


"If we can come up with other revenue sources without putting a burden on the taxpayers, it's one alternative to look at," Truman said.



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