Public expresses concern about new venue at Shelter House No. 1
Public input at the Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority (NFPAMA) board meeting, which took place on Sept. 22, largely addressed the board working through a lease for Shelter House No. 1 to become a boil house seafood restaurant, a venue for coffee, seafood, beer and wine.
According to the Chair of the Recreation Committee, Rodger Wheaton, the owner of the coffee and seafood location, William Wright, is also a Lakeview resident that has been open and willing to meet with his fellow residents and neighbors on the issue.
“We have been in regular contact with the neighborhood presidents, but that does not mean that all the residents are in the loop,” Wheaton said in an email.
John Kreer, who lives right behind Shelter House No. 1, spoke before the board and said he came in opposition to the lease. Kreer said he doesn’t see any advantage to the property being leased.
“I think that we have our hands full on the weekends trying to control the crowds now, and you want to put liquor and food into the mix,” Kreer said.
When asked by Wheaton if he was satisfied with the situation now, like the lack of bathrooms , Kreer said what he’s not satisfied with is the activity on the weekends, such as excessive noise and drag racing. Wheaton lives on Lake Terrace.
“What I’m trying to do is find ways to open up the facilities, shelters one, two, three, and four, open those to the public and have a knowing presence in there,” Wheaton said. “And operate them responsibly.”
Wheaton assured that the board had made a number of provisos that these potential businesses would shut down at 10 p.m. at the latest. Chairwoman Wilma Heaton added that security on the Lakefront will be beefing up, since a new police station is being built.
A resident on Crystal street said his only comment is that he thinks there will be restrictions to address most of the public’s concerns.
“It certainly presents an opportunity to take a non-revenue producing asset and turn it into something that produces money and also provides a place for the people that just want to go in the morning to have coffee and pastries, as opposed to going to a seafood place,” the resident said.
Wright, chosen to redevelop Shelter House No. 1 back into commerce through a boil house seafood restaurant, spoke next in front of the board.
“What we plan on doing out there is family-style, old fashioned seafood boil house called from 11 to 10,” Wright said.”
A coffee shop would be in place from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., before the business transfers to a bar and seafood restaurant until 10 p.m. Wright said he walked from the distance of Shelter House No. 1 and the closest residential home, which he said is 375 feet.
“I just think it’s going to be a joy for neighbors to come sit and watch the sun raise over the lake with a cup of coffee and a pastry and a newspaper,” Wright said. “And come out in the evening with a bottle of wine and come watch the sunset over the lake, which is a beautiful sight.”
Wright said his number can be found in the Lakeshore neighborhood section of Nextdoor and that he is open to any suggestions and feedback. Wheaton said that negotiations are still underway, and he appreciated the concern and participation of the neighbors at the meeting.
“We are still working through the lease and wanted public input so we could protect the neighborhoods and bring back public facilities that are currently shuttered.”
The next Non-Flood board meeting will take place on Oct. 27.