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Briq’s eyes concession operation in Riverlife Park

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By Shereen Siewert

A well-known local soft-serve ice cream vendor with seven central and northern Wisconsin locations is proposing operating a riverfront concession operation now under construction in Wausau.

Briq’s was the sole business to respond to Wausau’s request for proposals for the operation, according to Economic Development Director Chris Schock. The RFP was issued Sept. 28. Briq’s currently operates seasonal locations in Wausau, Weston, Rib Mountain, Mosinee, Merrill, Rhinelander and Minocqua.

The proposal, from Holly and Kevin Briquelet Miller, was discussed Tuesday at a meeting of the economic development committee. Under the proposed terms, Briq’s at Riverlife Park would operate from approximately May 1 through Oct. 1 depending on weather, offering “grab and go” snacks in addition to soft-serve ice cream.

The plan calls for a monthly lease rate of $750 per month for a three-year term, with options to renew at a 3 percent increase for each three-year term thereafter. Briq’s would pay all personal property taxes as require by law and Wausau would pay any required real estate taxes. Utilities would be Briq’s responsibility.

Briq’s is interested in pursuing a possible low-interest loan from the city for necessary equipment such as machinery and signage but did not make a specific request for funding.

The proposal also includes maintenance on the restrooms as well as management of other amenities such as bike and kayak rentals that are envisioned for the area.

“That alleviates park dept staff having to perform those tasks, and the overhead associated with staffing that function with public employees,” said Lisa Rasmussen, city council president.

The concession stand is part of Riverlife Park, a roughly $4.6 million project that will include state of the art playground equipment, outdoor exercise equipment, climbing nets and other features. All amenities will be located steps from the river, along the riverfront trail.

Construction began in May and is due for completion in the spring of 2019.

Before Briq’s plan is approved, city staff will negotiate with the business on rent rates and contract terms, Rasmussen said.

“Once that information is ready, we will consider a proposal that outlines the items we directed staff to work on and clarify to fine tune some of the details that were not in the proposal,” Rasmussen said.

According to Schock, formal approval could come as early as January.

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