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Select Board votes, 4-0, to back beer garden at Whittemore Park

Select board logo, 42718UPDATED, June 26: The Select Board voted, 4-0, at its Monday, June 25, meeting to approve a beer garden at Whittemore Park on 21 weekend days from July through September. Board member Joseph Curro Jr. was absent. 

The board heard a parade of public commenters offering objection and support about activities including music supported by Aeronaut Brewing Co. of Somerville at the site at Mass. Ave. and Mystic Street. An estimated 30 people showed up for the hearing.

'Restaurant destination' gets a boost 

You'll soon be able to enjoy live music, craft beer and delicious food al fresco -- while mingling with friends old and new -– in Arlington center. Alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, along with food from two local restaurants, will be offered.

The beer garden is free and open to the public; no food or drink purchases are necessary. Patrons can purchase up to two drinks at a time, and all alcoholic beverages must be consumed in the park.

The garden will accommodate up to 250 people. Anyone 21 years or older is welcome. Those under 21 can come if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Arlington’s beer garden will be open every weekend in July and August, on many Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 7, and is conditionally approved for every weekend in September. The first event is July 7.

“In August, we will review the safety, security and compliance, as well as the impact on other local businesses in determining whether to continue into September,” said Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine.

The Select Board unanimously approved the beer garden after receiving an “overwhelming amount of support,” Chapdelaine said.

Easy access

Conveniently located off the Minuteman Bikeway, bikers and other travelers are encouraged to take a break and stop by. Bike racks will available on Mystic Street near the park, and drivers can park their vehicles in the nearby municipal lots.

The entrance will be on Mass. Ave., and the exit at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Mystic. An ADA-compliant 4-foot clearance is to be maintained at all times on Mystic Street and at the beer-garden entrance.

Addressing an issue raised in plans first discussed at the June 11 meeting, the town is looking into seating options, such as Adirondack chairs, Chapdelaine said.

Patrons will have access to the two Cutter House bathrooms and porta-potties situated just outside the entrance, under the June 20 updated plan.

Town residents offer feedback

Thirty residents attended Monday’s meeting to show either support or opposition to the proposed beer garden, and several voiced their concerns.

Greg Harrison favors the garden, saying, “Downtown Arlington would benefit from the increased foot traffic. Beer gardens around the country are safe and fun.”

Book Rack owner Mike Buglio said the beer garden would be "great for our businesses. Getting people out of their houses is key."

Janice Hayes-Cha said, "Beer games can be family friendly, and are attractive to young families."

Jo Anne Preston, who opposes the plan, said, “If we have a beer garden, Whittemore Park will no longer be a historic public park. It takes space away from Dallin museumgoers, restricting the area from its original purpose.”

Mark Rosenthal, another opponent, said that Whittemore Park is "pretty much the only green space in that part of town."

In a letter to the Select Board, Patricia Worden suggested that the board consider establishing the beer garden at the Town Hall parking lot. "The paved parking lot location is much more appropriate for beer gardens since heavy use would destroy the grass at Whittemore Park."

Prompted by Town Counsel Doug Heim, Chapdelaine said Whittemore Park is town land that the selectmen control and is not under the jurisdiction of the Park and Recreation Commission.

Sponsored by Aeronaut Brewing

Aeronaut Brewing Co. is sponsoring the garden. Officials cited its successful track record of hosting public events in Arlington (Town Day 2017 and Schwamb Mill’s Oktoberfest) as well as in surrounding communities.

Aeronaut aims to pay $400 to the Town of Arlington, along with $432 for parking fees, for the use of the park. In addition, they will secure liquor-liability insurance with the Town in the amount of $1 million.

Aeronaut is to check everyone’s ID when entering the park, and provide a wristband to everyone 21 or older, which entitles them to buy two beers, as well as special promotions at local stores and restaurants.

Aeronaut will remove and dispose of all trash from the site at the end of each day.

Curro was absent because he was traveling on business.

In other news ... 

Gastronomical delights also await you at Arlington’s newest restaurants:

Town Tavern, 193 Mass Ave (formerly Ristorante Olivio). Enjoy delicious pub food, both inside at their sidewalk café.

Home Taste, 1312 Mass Ave (formerly La Posada). Savor Chinese cuisine, either on site or as take-out.

Recent appointments

Selectmen unanimously approved the following appointments:

Commission for Arts and Culture, Aneleise Ruggles, artist and arts administration professional (term expires 6/30/2019); Tom Davison, director of business development at American Public Television (term expires 1/31/2020)

LGBTQIA+Rainbow Commission, Julia Forsythe (term expires 1/31/2021) 

Special requests

The board unanimously approved the following special requests:

Contractor/drainlayer license, G. Blais Construction LLC, Bellingham

One-day all-alcohol license, Whittemore Robbins House, private event, July 14

June 20, 2018: Plans for beer garden adjusted in response to some community concerns

June 12, 2018: 3-month weekend beer garden proposed for Whittemore Park

This news summary, by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert, was published Monday, June 25, 2018, and updated June 26.

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