Opponents Battle Over Biergarten
Athenaeum Foundation President Cassie Stockamp says she hopes her organization can still negotiate a settlement with Biergarten operator Dan McMichael.
Stockamp says they still have two weeks to reach agreement about entertainment events at one of the city's most popular outdoor venues. Stockamp says the not-for-profit organization simply can't afford the operating costs of the Rathskeller and the Biergarten in Downtown Indianapolis. Stockamp responded to Biergarten Operator Dan McMichael's threatened legal action after the foundation ordered McMichael to end all entertainment events by July 1st. McMichael is gathering petition signatures and seeking legal action to keep the venue alive.
Stockamp says the foundation has to hold fundraisers every year to keep the Rathskeller in operation. She says yearly heating and cooling costs alone for the facility run upwards of $250,000. Stockamp says the entire facility also has $6 million in deferred maintenance costs. She says the Biergarten is a great community asset, but it's outside the scope of its lease and adds to overall operating costs. Stockamp says McMichael has been a great tenant, but they must make changes. Meantime, McMichael says he has run the Biergarten for 17 years and has come up with ways to generate funding in the past. Both say they've been trying to negotiate some sort of lease agreement, but to no avail.
At the outset, McMichael says he invested $200,000 in renovation costs and has donated $900,000 to the foundation since 1995. He adds his business makes up about half of the foundation's rental revenue. McMichael is seeking a court ordered stay of the foundation's cease and desist order.