The Lake Mills City Council unanimously approved a conditional use permit request by Phillip Manley and Laura Pennington to reopen the Bartel’s Landing concession stand at its meeting last Tuesday.

Manley and Pennington have owned the Bartel’s Landing building since 1993 and are planning to reopen the concession stand portion of the building by this summer.

The concession stand, which was open from 1931-1989, has gone through a lot over the years. The entire building was nearly burned down in a fire in November 2002, but was restored by Manley and Pennington to its former state in June 2005.

Now, with the concession stand reopening, it’s going to be a blast from the past for many longtime Lake Mills residents, who used to enjoy soda, frozen Charleston Chews and other snacks from the concession stand when they were kids.

“The Bartel’s Beach stand offers the city the amazing opportunity to reopen a historic building in its original use,” said Alisa Smith, Lake Mills Chamber of Commerce Director, at the Lake Mills Plan Commission meeting March 28. “I think the community support for this is extremely strong. I’ve heard from a lot of people who want it open and are looking forward to bringing their kids there like they did when they were younger. They want their kids to have the same experiences they had when they were younger.”

At the meeting Tuesday, the city council had a few questions about the specifics of the conditional use permit, namely, what kinds of food can be served out of the stand, whether outside vendors could be brought in and what type of effect the reopening of the stand would have on traffic.

Lake Mills City Manager Steve Wilke said the curve in the road and the width of the road as one moves south of Bartel’s Beach should prevent any changes to the traffic situation.

“It’s at the park, so it’s mainly going to be serving park people and won’t draw any more than that on a regular basis,” Wilke said. “It may encourage more people to go there. On a normal basis, we don’t see the park being unusually heavy on traffic.”

Council vice president Mike Foster asked if Manley and Pennington would ever be able to have an outside vendor come in and set up shop in front of the concession stand.

Wilke said the conditional use permit is very specific and doesn’t allow Manley and Pennington to do anything like that without prior approval from the city. Plus, the city owns the land right in front of the concession stand.

“Let’s say they started selling hot dogs out of there – it would have to fall into the scope of what public health would allow and what our conditional use permit would allow,” Wilke said. “Then they would have to put in a grease trap and take a look at the internal bathrooms. All kinds of conditions change in relation to how they change it. The conditional use permit is pretty limited within the scope.”

The other question the city council had was about garbage disposal at the concession stand.

Manley and Pennington will handle the removal of garbage from the stand and will also provide garbage and recycling bins outside the stand.

“Laura and I would both like to continue to be good stewards of not only our property, but the park,” Manley said. “We’re going to be over-mindful of trash and our employees will be directed to pick up any trash at the end of their shifts, whether it’s on our property or in the park. We’d like to keep the park clean and keep people happy. The trash bins will be taken out daily.”

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