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By Pam Reinig

Register Editor


Plans are underway for a beer garden at Sweet Corn Days.

The Elkader City council last Monday green-lighted a request from event co-organizers Caleb and Danielle Shea to pursue plans to sell beer in a fenced-in area in Founders Park. 

“We’re looking for ways to make Sweet Corn Days sustainable,” said Danielle Shea, adding that the annual summer festival costs about $25,000. “People are already bringing in coolers and enjoying beverages but we’re not seeing any profit from it.”

The exact location of the beer tent has not been determined, The Sheas will move ahead with plans now that they’ve received council approval. According to state regulations, the area must be enclosed and coolers will not be permitted. The committee will also be required to carry insurance, which the couple has already investigated. They’ve also visited with organizers in other communities that host beer gardens.

“We know how important this event is to Elkader and we’re just looking for ways to keep it going,” Danielle said.

Also at the meeting, the Council received an update on the Elkader Depot project. Janis and Larry Lerch, members of the depot group, said they have enough money for the footings and floor but before they move ahead, the issue of sewer and water lines must be addressed. The City will be responsible for that expense, which is not part of the current budget. The depot group received permission to upfront the cost and receive reimbursement from the city at a later date.

In addition, a city-owned storage building must be demolished or moved before depot construction begins. The Council voted to offer the building for sale. The winning bidder will be responsible for moving the structure.

Elkader Depot project includes construction of a replica of the Milwaukee Road Depot that once served the town of Elkader as well as the surrounding communities. The museum will house railroad memorabilia and will be built near the Maier Museum. 

The railroad first reached Elkader in 1875 with the narrow gauge track of the Iowa Eastern Railroad. That company was later bought by the Milwaukee Road, which had its first train enter the town in September 1889. For more than 90 years the railroad brought passengers and supplies to Elkader merchants. Railroad service ended in 1973

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