Chris Kroeze is playing two concerts in Chetek over the Fourth of July weekend, with one of the concerts planned for Red’s on Friday evening, July 3.
Owner of Red’s, Josh Heidemann, was requesting a permit for the event at a special meeting of the Chetek Common Council on Monday evening, June 22. The permit would allow a temporary change to Red’s alcohol license and let them to serve alcohol in the parking lot and west lawn. The areas would be fenced in, he said.
Kroeze would be playing on a stage in the parking lot, Heidemann said, and there would be food and beverage vendors in the parking lot and west lawn. There would also be porta pottys in the lawn. People would be hired to direct traffic and parking would be in the Gotham Park property, near the Chetek Dog Park.
The music would end at 10 p.m. The permit also allowed outdoor music, noted Clerk/Treasurer Carmen Newman.
Historically, the city has been generous with granting premise changes to Red’s. Last year, premise changes for six events, plus Liberty Fest events, were approved.
Asked by the council, Chetek Police Chief Ron Ambrozaitis said there were several concerns: the number of people, where they would all park and traffic around the event.
Ambrozaitis said he was not against the event and wanted to see it happen. But Kroeze would draw a large crowd—especially when other events have been canceled—and a more detailed plan was needed.
“It’s the first day of the biggest event we have in Chetek,” Ambrozaitis said.
He estimated that if there were 1,500 people in the building and outside, that would mean around 750 cars. Gotham Park didn’t have enough space and people would be parking along streets or yards and that would draw complaints from residents.
Council member Earl Grover, Ward 2, suggested having parking at the Chetek-Weyerhaeuser High School or at Parker Hannifin and use a shuttle to bring people in, like is done for other Liberty Fest events. Mark Edwards, council member for Ward 4, suggested having parking at the airport.
Council member Terry Hight, Ward 3, asked if there would be security hired for the event and suggested more than just a rope be used as a barricade so people would not be bringing drinks onto the street. Ambrozaitis said people jumping the fence with drinks is always a problem.
Council member Scott Bachowski, Ward 1, asked how many officers were on duty that night. Ambrozaitis said four, and state troopers and sheriff’s deputies would be close by.
Hight was concerned about noise going to 10 p.m. Edwards said residents expect it during Liberty Fest.
Mayor Jeff Martin asked if Heidemann was prepared to clean up the area of trash after the event was over. Heidemann said he would be, and that he would look into a shuttle service and hiring security.
Ambrozaitis and Public Works Director Dan Knapp discussed what streets might need to be closed or limited to one-way traffic. Some streets may have no parking or parking on one side only. Knapp did not think he had enough “No Parking” signs currently.
Deputy Clerk/Treasurer Cassandra Larson asked if attendance could be limited with tickets. Heidemann said Kroeze didn’t want there to be a cost or tickets for the event.
Ambrozaitis said more of a plan was needed, but said it should be up to the council to approve it.
Council members decided to table the decision and meet Friday, June 26, at 5 p.m. to hear and vote on a more detailed, full plan.
Fostbites event, Sept. 12
Jason Fostvedt and Nathan Fostvedt, owners of Fostbites Pub, were present to ask for a temporary premise description change and closure of Knapp Street from Second to Third streets on Sept. 12 for the Lovin’ the Lake event. It was the final event of a summer-long contest to give away a pontoon. About 250 people would be invited to the event over the course of the summer. An estimated 300–400 people would attend.
Fostvedts had a contact list of neighboring property owners and their signatures.
The council approved the street closure and premise description change.