The idea of allowing alcoholic beverages in the Culver Beach Lodge during private events drew a mixed reaction during a public input session held by the town council Tuesday. Such a move might make it easier to hold weddings at the new Damore Amphitheater, followed by a reception in the Beach Lodge. The town is looking at putting policies in place that would allow people to rent the amphitheater, including potential fees and guidelines.
Police Chief Wayne Bean said he didn’t think that allowing alcohol would be a good idea in the long-term. He was skeptical that beverages would always stay inside the building. He was also worried that it may lead to individuals bringing their own drinks to the park outside of permitted events. Another resident felt that allowing alcohol would be bad for the town’s image and questioned whether the decision would sacrifice the town’s park facilities for the chance at bringing in more money through facility rentals.
Council President Ginny Bess Munroe said that isn’t their main concern. “I don’t really think it’s a revenue-generating thing that we’re concerned about, so much as there aren’t a ton of venues in town, and so we have people already asking,” she explained. “Even before the amphitheater was built, we had people start inquiring about it.”
Others pointed out that Culver may be missing out on opportunities to promote the town to potential visitors and to keep local residents from taking their events elsewhere. Munroe said that also impacts local businesses. “There are actually quite a few people locally involved in weddings,” she said. “Just from someone who photographed several of them with Grant the last eight years or so, you see a lot of receptions go to Swan Lake or Out Back Forty or whatever they call that, and if the reception moves out of the area, a lot of times, the vendors in that area are going to be servicing that wedding. So you might not have, like, a local Culver caterer for food and the florist and all that.”
At the same time, Munroe worried about creating too much extra work for the Culver Park Department, by potentially putting it into the wedding business. One suggestion was to have an outside vendor handle the amphitheater and Beach Lodge rental.
Council members are looking at setting the basic rental fee for the Damore Amphitheater at $145 for the summer and $100 the rest of the year, similar to what’s charged for the Beach Lodge. They would probably also implement an additional fee and a number of stipulations, if alcohol were to be allowed at the Beach Lodge. Town Manager Jonathan Leist suggested limiting rentals to six to 10 weekends a year.
Town officials will continue taking feedback on the proposed amphitheater rental fees as well as the possibility of allowing alcohol in the Beach Lodge through December 20. Written comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.