City seeks OK for two new liquor licenses in Sawdust District

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The city is moving to create a special entertainment district along South Main Street that would allow it to issue two new liquor licenses in an attempt to build on the momentum created by the opening of the Menominee Nation Arena.

“As things redevelop there, we’ll have these two licenses available,” said City Manager Mark Rohloff.  “Should an establishment that needs those come up, we will be able to accommodate” its plans.

The proposed “premier economic development district” would run along South Main Street.

The proposal is based on a 2016 law that was initially aimed at helping Ashwaubenon take advantage of the Titletown District, a 34-acre development just west of Lambeau Field that has attracted a new hotel, a restaurant and a sports medicine clinic.

The law allows a municipal government to create two new liquor licenses for a designated area that meets certain criteria. Such an area, termed a “premier economic development district,” must be smaller than 40 acres and have the potential for future development of at least $20 million.

The area that the city wants to designate covers most of the area that has come to be known as the Sawdust District. Its size comes in at just under the state limit, 39.36 acres.

The district is irregularly shaped. It runs from 14th Avenue along South Main to 7th Avenue, with one arm snaking over to West Fifth so that it takes in the newly opened Granary Brew Pub.

Most of the proposed district is on the east side of Main. But it does not include the Pioneer Inn.

As of November the real estate within the proposed district was worth $6.9 million, according to Tyler Technologies, the company the city uses to do commercial assessments. Tyler projects the value to grow by at least $21 million.

The new liquor licenses would cost $30,000, compared to the $10,000 that a regular Class B license costs.

The proposal will come before the Common Council for initial review on Tuesday.

Photo: The proposed “premier economic development district” would run along South Main Street from 7th Avenue to 14th Avenue.

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Miles Maguire

Miles Maguire is the author of Advanced Reporting: Essential Skills for 21st Century Journalism. He was the founding editor of the Oshkosh Community News Network, a nonprofit online news organization whose work was cited as a notable innovation in journalism in the 2005 Knight-Batten Awards. Send questions, comments and suggestions to miles.maguire@yahoo.com.

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