Approves closing Main Street for event
By Scott Bellile
The Hortonville Village Board approved briefly closing Main Street for a Saturday afternoon in August to accommodate a downtown bar’s tribute to police, firefighters and veterans.
Police Chief Mike Sullivan said he has detours mapped for Aug. 8 when Heroes Fire-Military-Police holds its grand opening from where Main Street meets Mill Street to less than a block east. The estimated two-hour event will showcase military vehicles, fire trucks, an honor guard and a flag presentation. Proceeds will go to Old Glory Honor Flight.
Heroes owner Jack Kuhnke asked for just eastbound traffic be shut down for the event, but Sullivan said both lanes must close as a safety precaution.
Trustee Dawn Vollbrecht disagreed with the proposal.
“They have to meet at the bar?” trustee Dawn Vollbrecht asked. “They can’t meet at a park?”
Sullivan responded that the business is celebrating the grand opening of its establishment and has catering planned.
“I mean, it’s a great cause,” Vollbrecht said, “and I’m not saying it’s not, but we’re setting a big precedent.”
She asked the board if they would want to shut down Main Street every time a business wants to stage an event.
“We address each issue, and if they want to, and we can make it work safely, we’ll make it work,” Sullivan said.
Vollbrecht asked why Hortonville wouldn’t close Main Street for the 2015 Fourth of July parade but would for a business opening. Board members replied the Fourth of July parade was more complex because the detour couldn’t interfere with the altered parade route, which was changed due to the Black Otter Lake Dam closure.
“How is the grand opening of a tavern a benefit to the whole community?” trustee Al Habeck asked.
Sullivan responded the vehicles on display will attract people to Hortonville. Trustee Tori Mann said people will spend money in town.
Trustee Kelly Schleif said setting a precedent with this case is not necessarily a bad thing.
“We are trying to be a community that is welcoming to helping business, and we want these businesses to thrive,” Schleif said.
“A business is asking for the village’s help, and I think if we can accommodate that business to help it to be successful, I think we should do that,” Schleif added.
Habeck asked Schleif if he would have a problem with another business coming in afterward asking to close Main Street. Schleif said he wouldn’t if it would help the business succeed.
Schleif motioned to approve the Main Street closure, and Mann seconded it. The board approved the closure 5-1 with Vollbrecht against. Trustee Jeff Schuh was absent.