Business owners along Wisconsin Avenue discuss eliminating parking | Waukesha Co. News Business

PEWAUKEE – The village board on Tuesday will discuss possible actions regarding parking in the downtown area along the lakefront. Along that area on Wisconsin Avenue lies a strip of businesses that could be affected by a potential decision.

Sarah Stephens, owner of Beach Bum Bakery, located across the street from the lakefront, said if they took away public parking along the strip, she would likely go out of business. Stephens is located a few blocks from the nearest parking lot, which is already reserved for three other businesses and is independently owned.

“Who’s going to park a few blocks down for a cookie?” asked Stephens, who said most of her customers admitted that when there’s no parking available right in front of the store, they don’t stop.

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She has a parking lot behind her business, but she thinks customers won’t be willing to carry the heavy sweets she sells across the store, considering she doesn’t have a back entrance.

When Wisconsin Avenue is closed for events, Beach Bum Bakery loses 30 to 50 percent of their revenue for the day. If they were to remove public parking located on the same street, they could lose so much revenue every day without the parking options, Stephens said.

Other business owners think

Brendan Moore, owner of Twisted Vine Wine Shop and Bar, is all for eliminating public parking spaces along Wisconsin Avenue. Similar to Beach Bum Bakery, Moore’s business has a parking lot in the back and no back entrance, though he doesn’t worry about that.

According to Moore, the biggest complaint he gets from his customers is that they are unable to see the lake while in the outdoor seating area because cars in the parking lots block their view.

“The reason I’m for it is because during the week, 90% of these spots are taken by people on the beach and they’re not coming here (his store),” Moore said.

Moore has heard various possible options, including removing select spots or removing parking only on certain days of the week. None of these possibilities have been confirmed.

Scott Hoggatt, owner of VeloCity Cycling, is also all for removing parking spaces. However, he has an understanding of the businesses that can be affected by him.

VeloCity Cycling is one of three businesses that share the independently owned parking lot, and Hoggatt said most of the parking spots in front of his shop are used by people who go to the lake anyway.

“I understand that for Beach Bum Bakery, they are very dependent on that parking because they don’t have a back entrance to their store,” Hoggatt said.

With the bakery located a few blocks from Hoggatt’s business, he thinks the parking decision should change before any business.

“I support him (Stephens) and I don’t want to see the bakery put out of business because of parking,” Hoggatt said. “I’d like to see them do a multi-tiered solution.”

According to Stephens, the Village Board wants to prevent people from walking across the street without using crosswalks. Stephens proposed that instead of removing the parking lot, they put a fence or beachside planters along the edge of the boardwalk to direct people to the boardwalks.

At the June 21 board meeting, Village President Jeff Knutson asked Siepmann Realty Team President Jim Siepmann for more information on surrounding downtown in front of businesses. The barricades cost $1,250 each for a total of $48-50,000. More options were discussed in subsequent meetings.

Stephens asked the Village Board to allow her to keep the two 15-minute parking spaces in front of her bakery and designate them only for her store. The board said they could not privatize the public parking lot, and Stephens could not confirm whether the two spots would be enough.

A petition started by Stephens to prevent the parking being removed has about 75 signatures from other businesses and her customers. She plans to bring it with her to the next Village Board meeting Tuesday at Village Hall, 235 Hickory St.

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