Park Ridge committee endorse liquor regulation changes

Photo by Igor Studenkov The owner of Beer on the Wall, a “beer cafe” located at 106 Main St, right next to the Uptown Park Ridge Metra Station sought changes to certain types of liquor licenses.

By Igor Studenkov

For the Bugle

 The Park Ridge Procedures and Regulations Committee of the Whole gave preliminary approval to proposed changes to rules for certain types of liquor licenses.

The changes were requested by Ryan Tracy, owner of Beer on the Wall, a “beer cafe” located at 106 Main St, right next to the Uptown Park Ridge Metra Station. He said that he wants to be able to sell chilled beer to Metra riders, which the current regulations don’t allow. If approved, the changes would affect all liquor licenses holders with the Gourmet Beverage enforcement. There is currently only one other business that has it–WineStyles, a boutique located nearby, at 105 S. Northwest Hwy.

The current regulations don’t allow liquor stores and other liquor license holders to sell a single container of any chilled or refrigerated alcoholic beverage that isn’t wine for off-premises consumption. According to the committee memo, this was designed to discourage people from loitering near liquor stores.

As Tracy explained the committee, there was a demand for chilled “train beers,” especially for customers taking a train to events. Metra usually allows riders to drink alcohol on trains, only banning it during certain major parades and large-scale events such as Lollapalooza and the Air and Water Show.

Tracy also asked the aldermen to increase the cap on the total volume of alcohol from 12 ounces of wine and 24 ounces of beer to 24 ounces of wine and 48 ounces of beer. For flights of alcohol, he asked to increase the caps from six ounces for wine and 12 ounces for beer to 12 ounces for wine and 16 ounces for beer. Tracy said that it was simply the question of the most convenient way to serve customers.

Emily Wilderman, owner of WineStyles, told the commission that she didn’t object to those changes. And while she wouldn’t necessarily want all of them for what she’s doing, they would help.

“I don’t want [WineStyles] to be a bar, but we want to be able to serve a couple of glasses without saying ‘you have to go somewhere else,’” Wilderman said.

After a brief discussion, the aldermen instructed the staff to prepare a resolution that would make the changes. It would still need to be passed in the committee and in the full city council in order to take effect.

Park Ridge finance panel gives early OK for bike plan study contract

The Park Ridge Finance Committee of the Whole agreed with the Bike Task Force recommendation that the organization who developed the 2005 city bike plan would come back to develop a new one.

As previously reported by the Bugle, during the Dec. 19 Park Ridge City Council meeting, the task force recommended contracting Ride Illinois, non-profit bicycling advocacy organization. It would work with the Active Transpiration Alliance, a Chicago area transpiration advocacy group, to study the city’s current bicycling needs and update the plan. Because Ride Illinois developed the original plan, it would have a natural advantage.

During the Jan. 9 meeting, the Finance Committee of the Whole decided to go out for bid on the project, just in case some other company would be able to offer a better deal. Ald. John Moran (1st Ward) in particular argued that the plan could benefit from the fresh set of eyes.

A total of four bids came in. A Park Ridge staff member and two task force members evaluated their proposals. They found that while Town Square Consultancy, of Chicago, offered the lowest price ($7,250), Ride Illinois did better when it came to qualifications and understanding of the project. This, along with the fact that it submitted the second-lowest bid ($8,302.50) led them to recommend it.

The committee agreed with the recommendation. Because the bid came under $10,000, the contract doesn’t require the City Council vote to make it official.

The city had an option of asking for increased public outreach, which would increase the cost by $1,155. But the committee ultimately decided not to go with that.

“We don’t [usually] get a lot of feedback at public outreach events,” Moran said. “Even for flooding and such, public sessions don’t work so well.”

The committee also considered whether to apply for a Cook County Department of Transpiration and Highways’ Connecting Cook County grant. The bike task force advised against it, arguing that the grant was better suited for more complex multi-modal plans, and Park Ridge wasn’t likely to get it just for a bike plan.

While the aldermen agreed not to seek the grant for the bike plan, they agreed to ask the staff to look if there are any other projects that would potentially be eligible for it. The deadline for the application if March 17, and the grants will be awarded in August.



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