SOMERS — Improvements at Petrifying Springs Park, including a new ball diamond and public restrooms, are under construction with the help of revenue from the biergarten and dog park user fees.
“We’re excited to be able to offer this amenity to Petrifying Springs Park users,” Kenosha County Parks Director Matthew Collins said. “Whether you come to enjoy the biergarten on a hot summer day, to sled or snowshoe during the winter, or to use the dog park any time of the year, these facilities will be there for you.”
The work is taking place at the south end of the park near Highway JR, close to the biergarten and the Carlisle Dog Park.
A portion of the cost for the new amenities is being funded with shared gross revenue the county realized from the biergarten’s 2018 sales, plus future expected revenues, through the county’s partnership with the private operators of the biergarten.
“When we negotiated our agreement with the Petrifying Springs Biergarten, our goals were to bring a new, popular amenity to our flagship park, and to generate revenue for future park improvements,” said Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser. “Two years in, we have met both of those objectives, and the future looks bright.”
The county entered into a five-year lease with Petrifying Springs Biergarten LLC, a venture owned by local businessmen Mike Grab and Tony DeBartolo, in 2017.
Under the agreement, Grab and DeBartolo made more than $130,000 in improvements to convert the southernmost pavilion in the park into the biergarten, which opened for business in May 2017.
Biergarten, dog park revenue
The annual revenue share to the county, $62,000 in 2018, reflects a percentage of the biergarten’s gross revenues. Along with the revenue share, the biergarten has also made a $30,000 donation to go toward the Petrifying Springs improvement project.
“The biergarten in itself is a fundraiser that gives directly back to the county park system and allows the county to allocate funds for new projects at various county parks, some of which will be popping up this summer,” Grab said. “We thank everyone who has supported the biergarten and, in turn, has supported the community.”
Collins said revenue collected from daily and annual passes to the dog park provided $25,000 toward the facilities, which will be integrated into a new grandstand for the softball field.
The Friends of the Kenosha County Dog Parks group approved allocating the funds for this use given the proximity of the restrooms to the dog park.
Also included with the restroom and grandstand project will be improvements to the softball field to address frequent problems with drainage, plus much-needed park storage space.
The biergarten will begin its third season next month, with soft openings scheduled for May 10-11 and 17-19, and grand opening festivities on Memorial Day weekend.