By: Michael Leischner at WSAU
The once-popular Wine Walks may soon become a staple of downtown Wausau once again.
The city Public Health and Safety Committee moved an ordinance on to the full council during their meeting Monday. The proposal cleans up language in a current city ordinance that would call for for special licenses to be granted allowing intoxicants to be consumed in a public right of way.
Committee chair and Council President Lisa Rasmussen said that when the city had previously allowed the wine walks, they were actually breaking state laws. "Other communities would call and say 'how is Wausau getting away with this?' Come to find out we were in violation. We never should have been giving those waivers in the first place."
The wine walks originally operated in the early 2000's but were stopped after the discrepancy with state law was discovered. Rasmussen said the city actually worked with the state to clean up the law that would allow for operators to bring the events back. "Communities are now able to grant event licenses specifically for wine walks. [It] creates an exception that allows those beverages to traverse the right-of-way."
Rasmussen said organizers were actually trying to put together an event in 2017 but couldn't make it happen. She says now that the legal red tape is cleared up it could come back this year if organizers can make it happen. "It was not a bad event, it just ran counter to state law."