October 10, 2014

City Council Update

The City Council recently took action to limit both entry to bars and consumption of alcoholic drinks all across town. No longer will patrons be able to enter their favorite establishments or order a round of shots an hour before closing.

Councilman Grant Wehrli stated, “We are trying to get our downtown back…”

Local resident, Roger McDonald spoke out for tougher restrictions, reminding council of the recent deaths of two young men this summer in a quarry accident and the stabbing death of Shaun Wild. He also cited scientific reports which show that the judgment area of the brain is often not mature until age 26. McDonald then became emotional at the end of his public comment stating, “It is your duty to protect these young people from themselves and that is not being done…”

Much of the discussion centered on the over consumption and large serving size of beer. Councilmen Dave Wentz stated that often, bar specials include 24 ounce domestic beer bottles for five bucks and asked Police Chief Marshall to weigh in. “The issue is over consumption. That’s where our problems in the downtown come from anytime you are giving people 24 ounces of beer, the more alcohol you give the more they’re going to drink,” concluded Marshall.

After much debate the council ruled to limit non-craft beer serving size to 22 ounces down from 24, but allowed craft beer size to stay at 24 ounces. They also restricted bars from announcing last call for shots, or soliciting shot sales.

Council did grant preliminary approval to allowing the DuPage Children’s Museum to be able to apply for grant money through the city’s special events and cultural amenities fund.

The October 31 deadline for SECA grants is fast approaching for Naperville not-for-profits. Back in 2010, the museum lost their right to apply for the funds, when the city bought their building and property, allotting $150,000 from SECA to pay themselves back for the purchase each year. Now council is taking the initial steps to amend the museum’s lease to allow them to request a direct grant from SECA.

New CEO Sarah Orleans said, “What we would like to do is come in and request for a specific area of the museum like Water Exhibit and we are estimating $125,000.”

A majority of the council felt it was appropriate for the museum to be able to apply but not necessarily receive funding. Councilman Steve Chirico said, ”If we don’t feel like it fits then we can deny it. This is really just the authority to allow them to enter the race — get to the starting line — not to the finish line.”

Both Councilman Grant Wehrli and Doug Krause were against the action. Councilman Doug Krause said, “It gives the museum an unfair advantage over other nonprofit organizations that apply for the events and culture funding.

The issue will re-appear at the October 21st council meeting.

Finally, Council decided to take a wait and see approach to the on-going puppy mill issue. Postponing any decision until June of 2015.
Advocates on both sides of the issue agreed to monitor the pending lawsuit in Cook County before making any decision.


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