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City mulls pedal pub ordinance

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City leaders on Monday will consider a proposal to license pedal pubs in Wausau, a move prompted by two entrepreneurs who aim to open such a business in the coming months.

Dan Dadabo and Ashley Sampson first approached the city’s public health and safety committee in September, where they outlined their vision for a pedal pub that would take up to 16 riders on tours through the downtown Wausau area.

Pedal pubs, described as pedal-powered taverns on wheels, have seen increased popularity in some cities in recent years, including in Minneapolis, Green Bay, La Crosse and Madison. Riders typically bring their own beverages or buy them at participating businesses, then pedal the pub throughout a predefined route. A “driver,” provided by the pedal pub business, steers the rig.

Assistant City Attorney Tara Alfonso in September told committee members that state law allows pedal pubs and treats them like parks, where alcohol can be consumed as an unlicensed premise. The alcohol can be purchased from anywhere or brought from home, as long as it is in a sealed container, Alfonso said. The statutes also limits each rider to bringing no more than 36 ounces of beer of fermented malt beverages on board.

Some communities, including Madison, have reduced that limit to 24 ounces, Alfonso said.

Dadabo said the top speed of the bike is about 8 miles per hour, less than an average jogger. No glassware would be allowed, and drivers would be required to abstain from alcohol and be trained on best practices. The proposed route would snake through downtown Wausau and the riverfront area.

Alfonso drafted an ordinance that will be presented tonight’s public health and safety meeting that would allow licensed pedal pubs to operate between 10 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. Businesses would be licensed, with approval by the Wausau Police Chief. Music would be prohibited, and a $2 million insurance policy is required, under the terms of the proposed ordinance.

The committee will review the proposal and discuss how much annual licensing should cost at tonight’s meeting, slated for 5:15 p.m. at City Hall. If approved, the measure will move to the full council for consideration.

Lisa Rasmussen, Pat Peckham, Becky McElhaney, Romey Wagner and Karen Kellbach are all members of the public health and safety committee.

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