Dunlap tackles beer garden issue, but with no outcome

Nick Stroman

The Dunlap Village Board once again tackled the topic of Tailgaters Sports Bar & Grill at its Sept. 9 meeting, but made no formal decision on its future.

Last month, some homeowners near Tailgaters attended the board meeting to address concerns about noise and the talk about a possible beer garden option for the tavern.

Bar owner Amanda Cornell has been trying to get the village board to approve a beer garden since 2008.

Last June, Cornell also asked the board for an extension of the hours she is able to sell liquor.

Village trustee Jack Esterdahl said the village’s dealings with the bar started back when it used to be known as the Eagle’s Nest.

Esterdahl said it started as just a restaurant which was open until 9 or 10 p.m.

Later, Esterdahl said the bar asked to sell beer and wine and eventually wanted village approval for a full bar.

“He couldn’t meet the 50 percent food requirement though, so I think that’s why he got out,” Esterdahl said.

Ever since Tailgaters started business, Esterdahl said the new owners have been doing whatever they want to do and ignoring village liquor laws.

“They are slapping us in the face, per ordinance and per law. I think it’s the start of a lot of things to come. They made it a beer garden already and we didn’t even approve it to be one,” Esterdahl said.

Esterdahl added he feels for the neighborhood because the village board voted to deny the beer garden in April and the issue is now coming up again.

“It’s our own fault too because this has gone on so long, but if you’re a reputable business, you follow the ordinances,” Esterdahl said.

At this month’s meeting, Tailgaters was asking the board to approve an ordinance to issue a temporary liquor license so they can have a private party and also accommodate crowds during homecoming week.

“My opinion is their poor management is not our problem just because they happened to overbook themselves,” trustee Sheila Taylor said.

Trustee Jeff Dixon said, “I know for a fact though that they were serving until 2:30 a.m. last Saturday,” Dixon said.

Tailgaters currently has a 1 a.m. liquor license.

When village president Jack Fennell concluded the discussion by asking for a motion to approve the temporary liquor license, the board was silent and the motion failed.

In other action and discussion:

• Terry Haas told the board a public meeting is tentatively set for 7 p.m. Oct. 8 at Dunlap High School auditorium on the annexation issue.

The annexation agreement, which has been in discussion for several years now, would change and expand the existing Dunlap boundaries.

New boundaries could be expanded to the east as far as Route 40 and south to Pauli Road.

The village board and Peoria County Board have already voted in support of the annexation.

Haas, who is a property owner and former member of the Dunlap school board, said Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis and the school board are remaining neutral at this time.

“If Peoria isn’t doing well, no one else is. I think this will benefit everyone and the whole area will grow,” Fennell said.

 Fennell he has a second annexation meeting scheduled with Ardis later this fall.

• Village superintendent Dale Bishop said Copperfield Park has been leveled and seeded with fertilizer.

Last month, several members of the Copperfield Home Owners’ Association came to the meeting to inquire about the status of work at the park, citing it as an eyesore.

Bishop said Hoerr Nursery will be coming to the park soon to plant trees before fall.

• The board approved a property address ordinance which would create a process of approving and numbering street addresses in the village.

The visibility of the address numbers will help in case of emergencies.

• The board appointed village clerk Fraser Engerman as the new Freedom of Information officer.

Engerman said Governor Pat Quinn has been tightening up restrictions on FOI.

As of Jan. 1, 2010, each village and municipality must appoint an FOI officer and the representative must take part in state retraining of FOI rules.

One of the new rules includes five days for FOI requests from the media, instead of the previous seven days response.