If you like rock in one ear and country in the other, July 4 and July 7 were perfect evenings to be in Ontario.
The Ontario Village Board held a lengthy debate Monday on how to manage competing music venues that are separated by only one block. As part of the beer garden ordinance, outdoor music dates must be approved by the board.
Wildcat Mountain Bar & Grill, 202 Main St., had requested a number of dates through the summer, but not July 4 or July 7, when it offered music. Simultaneously, the Ontario Community Club sponsored country music on the Ontario Community Hall deck both days. This resulted in a great deal of dissonance for those attempting to listen to one band or the other.
This month Wildcat Mountain Bar requested additional dates, but some board members objected, arguing the business ought to be punished for failing to follow the ordinance.
Ontario Police Chief Matt Hoskins said he might have added to the confusion when he told the bar’s owner that he would pass on the request for the July 4 and July 7 dates to the village clerk. The bar might have interpreted that as permission to hold music outside, he said.
Although some board members favored denying additional dates to Wildcat Mountain Bar, in the end they decided to grant the requested dates but rework the ordinance to include a penalty for failing to ask board permission before offering music outside.
On a related note, the board had another discussion on what might be done to prevent both of Ontario’s taverns from offering music on the same evening, as has happened this year. The board decided that was a problem for the businesses to work out.
• The board resolved a number of issues in connection with Palen Park improvements. It OK’d issuing a license under flood plain rules for the location of the welcome center building and approved a plan to remove the building in the event of a flood.
Additionally, the board approved a tree plan for the village’s public areas. The plan, presented by Bud Osteboe of the Thursday Night Working Group, calls for 25 trees of varying species, plus trees for Palen Park. Those who wish to purchase a tree will find a form on page 12 of the County Line. Purchasers will be honored on an engraved plaque that will be hung in the visitor center.
• Members representing the Ontario Community Club and the Thursday Night Working Group were on hand to request that the board make application to the Vernon County Board for a share of the $1.3 million Ho-Chunk gaming funds, which county receives each year.
The funds would be used to renovate or replace the Ontario Community Hall kitchen and bathrooms. The board agreed to request the money, and Wilmer Pearson and Karen Parker were charged with writing the initial draft of the letter. Vernon County Board Supervisor Glenda Sullivan will present the request later this month.
• Ontario American Legion Commander Mark Williams presented a plan to the board for expansion of the Legion monument to include new veterans since the monument’s construction and veterans of peacetime service.
Williams noted that fundraising would take some time and he would return to the board to present a more detailed plan.
Additionally, the post would donate or offer a long-term lease on a lot it owns adjacent to the Palen Park. The land would be used for park expansion.
• The board decided it would not charge the Ontario Community Club to use the Ontario Community Hall in November for a fundraiser.
• The board tabled Southwest Sanitation’s proposal to do curbside garbage pickup.
• The board will seek bids for a new assessor.
• The board accepted the low bid of $11,145 from McCann Construction for sewer repairs on Garden Street.
• Additionally, the board approved operator’s licenses for Lisa Sullivan, Angie Maule and Rebecca Hallum.