Community divided over beer garden in Francis Park

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – A new beer garden is heading to Francis Park. But while many see this as a great addition to the neighborhood, some residents are not pleased.

“There’s lots of young people walking around the park and there’s many people that walk around this park that are not city residents. And why? Because it’s safe,” said Nicholas Riggio Sr.

Riggio, 90, launched a petition to keep it from changing. Reggio has lived in his house near the park since 1952. But he fears the family-friendly atmosphere might now change with business coming in.

Riggio has collected over 50 signatures to stop the beer garden from breaking ground. But not everyone agrees.

“It’ll bring more people into the area and more money,” said St. Louis Hills resident Sean Hulen. “I understand there’s no sides to it but I think it’s a great thing.”

And others believe more people is not the answer.

“This is a family park and this is how it should stay and if they get a liquor license, it may not stay that way,” said Cindy Breitwiser, Shrewsbury resident.

The beer garden’s liquor license is currently pending approval from the city.

The Rockwell Beer Company released the following statement Monday:

“The support we’ve received from the community has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re confident our significant investment will create a long-term benefit for the neighborhood while creating a family-friendly atmosphere where everyone is welcomed.”

But Riggio and his supporters are not convinced.

“To hurt this park and ruin this park and start with businesses. That opens the door,” he said.

Riggio and those who share his concern plan to attend the liquor license hearing to voice their opinion. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 5, at 9:15 a.m. at St. Louis City Hall.

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