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Softball association beer sales spark debate

The Hudson City Council renewed an agreement with the Hudson Softball Association concerning beer sales at Grandview Park on April 21.

While the agreement was approved unanimously, and without discussion by the council, it produced a lively debate in the Finance Committee meeting that immediately preceded the council meeting.

Council President Randy Morrissette II wanted to stop charging the softball association 8 percent of its gross revenue from beer sales for the right to use the ball park’s concession stand.

Morrissette said the city has been “nickel and diming” the softball association, which is struggling to keep teams.

“Money is tight up there. They are losing teams,” he said, indicating that the fees teams pay for field use and electricity are part of the problem.

Public Works and Parks Director Tom Zeuli responded that electric bills keep rising and the fees only cover the city’s expenses.

“We’re not making any money,” he said.

“The fields are in demand,” Zeuli added. “If the softball association goes away, they will still be used.”

Zeuli went on to indicate that a softball association leader has criticized the facilities.

“I think we’ve done a good job (of maintaining and improving the fields), and don’t get any credit for it,” Zeuli said.

Morrissette said it sounded like there was a personality confict between Zeuli and the association leader.

Zeuli denied it. He pointed out that the ball field and concession fees were recommended by the Park Board.

Mayor Alan Burchill said he would agree to lower the concession stand fee to 5 percent of gross sales if the softball association wanted to quit selling beer.

Finance Officer Neil Soltis, in response to a question, said the city collected $915 from the softball association in 2013 for its use of the concession stand.

Zeuli reported the city receiving as much as $3,700 in a summer from ball park beer sales.

Alderperson Mary Yacoub said she was concerned that the city isn’t getting its share of the beer revenue.

Other action

The City Council also approved:

--A conditional use permit for the community based residential facility (CBRF) and residential care apartment complex (RCAC) that Presbyterian Homes & Services plans to build east of Hudson Hospital & Clinic. The council also approved final development plans for the 160-unit senior living facility and dialysis clinic.

--Development plans for a 360-square-foot addition and other modifications to the Taco Bell restaurant on Crest View Drive. In addition, the restaurant’s parking lot and drive-through will be reconfigured. Nine parking spaces will be added.

--Spending $16,222 for new controls for the traffic signals at Second and Walnut streets and Second and Vine streets.

--Barricading Locust Street between Second and Third streets on the third Sundays of May, July, August and September, and on June 22, for the Locust Street Car Show.

--Stipe Shows Inc. to hold a carnival on the Plaza 94 outer parking lot on Thursday, May 8, through Sunday, May 11.

--Installing three arrow signs to direct traffic through the curve on the corner of Vine Street and 12th Street.

--Changing the time on the no parking signs on Fifth Street next to Trinity Academy to no parking from 12:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

--A license for 16 bowling alleys at the Hudson Bowling Center for the period July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

(715) 426-1066