Roseville opened a new $3 million clubhouse this summer at its nine-hole Cedarholm Golf Course, complete with a small restaurant overlooking the greens and a community room to host weddings and events.
The problem: Just after the clubhouse opened, city officials found out their application for a liquor license had been rejected by the state.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division determined that municipal golf courses weren’t among those organizations allowed to apply for on-site liquor sales. It threw a wrench into Roseville’s plans for how the new facility could be used.
“It was a surprise to us at the end because we had been working with the state throughout the process,” said City Manager Patrick Trudgeon.
Now the city plans to work with its legislators to change state law, either to allow municipal links to apply for a liquor license or to grant the Cedarholm clubhouse a special exception.
Other cities and counties in the area that want to sell beer or drinks at public parks or golf courses have hired private vendors, who are able to get liquor licenses, to run their bars. But officials want to keep the clubhouse’s operations in-house.
Without a full license, the city can still sell “near beer” with less than 3.2 percent alcohol content, Trudgeon said.
“As a city we’d just like to have a license so when people come into the clubhouse to get a burger they can have a full-strength beer or a glass of wine,” he said.
The lack of a liquor license shouldn’t affect the use of the clubhouse’s new 120-person community room, said Mayor Dan Roe. Anyone who rents out the site for weddings or banquets would need to have the event catered, and caterers typically have their own liquor licenses, Roe said.
“We just want to make [liquor] available during the day and as part of normal golfing operations,” Roe said.
While municipal courses are rarely revenue drivers, liquor sales on-site could help offset some of the operating and remodeling costs at Cedarholm.
From 2014 through 2016, the city spent about $16,000 more on operating expenses at the course than it brought in through fees and other revenue, according to the latest data from the State Auditor’s office.
Trudgeon said he’s hopeful that lawmakers will grant the exception during the session that begins in January.
“When you’re talking about something that would be as limited in scope as this, it can be hard to get their attention,” he said. “But we’re going to work to get this before them.”