Tom Kelenic said when his teams are traveling to baseball and softball complexes around the state and country alcohol is typically being sold at these facilities.
Now, two years after opening the 5 Diamonds facility, now Infinity Fields, on West Les Paul Parkway on Highway 59 in the Town of Waukesha, Kelenic, who owns the complex, soon could also be selling beer there.
After discussing the issue, among others relating to the complex for about three hours, the Town of Waukesha Board approved a new plan of operation for the facility in a 3-2 vote.
Supervisors Larry Wolf and Michael Doerr voted against the amended plan of operation with Wolf voicing his adamant opposition to the sale of alcohol.
When the facility opened in 2012, Kelenic said the intention wasn’t to sell alcohol at the 31-acre site.
After being asked what’s changed from then to now at Thursday night’s joint Plan Commission and Town Board meeting, Kelenic said he’s been getting more requests for it.
“We have teams from all over the country (coming),” Kelenic said. “It’s a vacation experience for the parents, a playing experience for the kids. Quite frankly, they could have three games in a day. We serve terrific food and families stick around.”
Kelenic added other baseball complexes, such as The Rock Sports Complex in Franklin, sells alcohol.
“In today’s age, I don’t want to say (it’s being done) everywhere, but it’s our experience traveling the country with select ball it’s the norm,” Kelenic said.
With the approval, the sale of alcohol would be subject to the petitioner applying for and obtaining a Class “B” Liquor License from the Town of Waukesha. Waukesha County would also have to approve of the facility's new plan of operation before any change would be implemented.
Per WIAA rules, the site could not sell alcohol during Catholic Memorial High School games, a school that utilizes the facility during its season.
But during all other youth baseball and softball games, which will mainly be the Waukesha Blazers organization, the ability to sell alcohol could soon happen if the final approvals are made.
Previously, the complex was operating under the school district's policy on prohibiting drugs, alcohol and tobacco use.
A majority of the Plan Commission was against the sale of alcohol but still gave unanimous recommendation to the site changes, saying it was ultimately up to the board, anyway.
Supervisor Jim Radke, who voted for the new plan of operation, said he didn’t feel the board had the authority to tell a business not to sell alcohol when it’s within the law.
Chairman John Marek said throughout the meeting he wanted to “stop micromanaging” the facility.
Many residents spoke against allowing the sale of alcohol at the facility.
This included City of Waukesha Alderwoman and Waukesha County Supervisor Kathleen Cummings. Cummings cited drunken driving statistics in Waukesha County in the last year.
She said there were 700 reported cases of drivers operating while under the influence with 519 being second offenses and 89 fifth offenses.
“As grown-ups can’t we lead by example and not have alcohol at our youth complex?” Cummings asked the board.
Former Town of Waukesha Chairwoman Angie E. Van Scyoc told the board that if the WIAA doesn’t feel that alcohol should be served during high school games why should it be OK to sell it for youth games.
Many of the neighbors who spoke out against this change have spoken on issues relating to this facility over the years.
This has included when games ran past the allotted board-approved time, something that was also discussed at Thursday's meeting.
Owners first looked at having the hours of operation changed during the summer of 2012 to allow the facility to stay open past 9:30 p.m., which was the agreed upon closing time. After a six-hour meeting two years ago, a decision on the extension was delayed.
But before the site’s conditional use permit could be discussed again, the owners sought annexation into the city of Waukesha in late 2012.
However, many council members had concerns given the history the owners had with the town board and ultimately the annexation was denied after two-thirds of the council didn’t vote for it.
At Thursday’s meeting the owners now requested for the facility to be open until 11 p.m. After a lengthy discussion, the board decided that the site's baseball and softball field’s lights had to be turned off by 10:30 p.m. with the entire facility shut down by 11 p.m.
Last year the town board approved a plan of operation request that allowed the facility to stay open until 10:30 p.m. But that request had not been sent yet to the county, which has to sign off on a final approval.
Another change in the facility’s plan of operation voted on by the board Thursday night included formally increasing the amount of times a voice amplification system can be used at the complex.
Last year, the town board approved a plan that said the park could use voice amplification for three charitable fundraisers.
Since Catholic Memorial had been using this during its home games, the new plan now allows the facility to use voice amplification for 15 events.
The owners also requested that an indoor facility be removed from the site’s plan of operation. Kelenic said building an indoor facility would now take away from 80 parking stalls, something he didn’t want to get rid of.