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If there's one thing a beer garden in Milwaukee really, really needs (besides beer and maybe giant pretzels), it's a good bathroom.
With that in mind, this morning, the County Board's Parks Committee voted to match $27,000 already raised to fund repairs and upgrades to the bathrooms at the Humboldt Park Beer pavilion in Bay View.
The money joins $4,000 pledged by the Humboldt Park Friends and $23,000 that is held in a maintenance account with funds from a portion of beer sales at the beer garden since 2014, according to a press release issued this morning.
The resolution now moves to the full County Board, and if it passes there, on to the desk of County Executive Chris Abele.
Haas said he expects the repairs to be ready in time for the May opening of the beer garden, which is a public-private partnership between Milwaukee County and St. Francis Brewing.
Last year, the Parks Department spent more than $50,000 to improve the plumbing and sewer systems for the pavilion and the removal of hazardous waste. At the same time, St. Francis Brewery covered the costs of widening the bathroom doors to make them wheelchair accessible.
The proposed new work includes new tile flooring and floor drains, new faucets and ADA-compliant sinks, new mirrors, new stalls, new toilets and baby changing stations in both the men's and women's rooms, as well as repairs to windows and brick walls.
"Every pint of beer sold at the beer garden helped made this possible," said Supervisor Jason Haas in that statement. "With the completion of these repairs, for the first time in decades we will have newly remodeled, comfortable and fully accessible restrooms at Humboldt Park."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.