Ken and Molly Michel

Hop Heads Hospitality and Events founder Ken and Molly Michel pose at their beer garden in Franksville in the summer of 2018. The City of Racine has hired Hop Heads for the pop-up beer gardens the city plans to hold this summer at Lakeview Park, 201 Goold St., and Island Park, 1700 Liberty St.

RACINE — The city has hired Hop Heads Hospitality and Events, the vendor behind the Franksville Beer Garden, for the Belle City Biergarten events the city plans to hold this summer.

The Parks Department intends to pair the beer gardens with live music or movies in the park and invite food truck or other mobile food vendors to the events.

The city is tentatively planning four or five events that would run Thursday through Sunday at Lakeview Park, 201 Goold St., and at Island Park, 1700 Liberty St. Dates have not been selected, but city officials said those could be determined soon.

Ken Michel Jr., who co-owns Hop Heads with his wife, Molly, said the city seems to be testing the waters to see whether beer gardens could attract more people to the city’s parks. Based on Michel’s experience in the Franksville area of Caledonia, he’s confident they will.

“In Franksville, we’re getting anywhere from a few hundred to 500, 600 people on a Saturday night,” said Michel. “It’s getting people re-familiarized with parks.”

In a memo to the Finance and Personnel Committee, City Purchasing Agent Kathy Kasper said the city put out requests for proposals to a number of potential beer-garden operators. Out of those, one declined to submit an application and two, including Hop Heads, attended a walk-through of park facilities. Hop Heads was the only vendor to submit a proposal.

In the arrangement with the city, Hop Heads will pay to rent the facilities and any money they earn at the event is theirs.

The deal could generate about $5,000 to $7,000 for the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services in rental fees.

In other council news:

  • The council on Monday approved the bid for the pass-thru park project in Uptown from Racine-based A.W. Oakes & Son for $209,500.
  • The council on Monday bid farewell to three outgoing aldermen: Steve Smetana of the 5th District, Terry McCarthy of the 9th and James Morgenroth of the 13th. McCarthy and Morgenroth did not seek re-election. Smetana was defeated in his bid for re-election by Jen Levie, the past president of the Racine Education Association.

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Christina Lieffring covers the City of Racine and the City of Burlington and is a not-bad photographer. In her spare time she tries to keep her plants and guinea pigs alive and happy.

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