A brewery and taproom may be coming to downtown Hackensack by summer 2020.

Doug Toth and Sue Harrington Toth presented their proposal and request for licensing to the Hackensack City Council Aug. 5. They are finalizing the purchase of a building on First Street North that was once Northwoods General Store.

The Toths feel the building will be a great location for a brewery, as it is centrally located near the boat launch, several restaurants, Paul Bunyan Trail and city park.

With a large open tap room, oversized windows facing the lake and sidewalk seating, the brewery will provide a variety of options for customers.

“Opening a brewery and taproom will create space for people to gather and have fun,” said Sue. “We would like to attract more people to Hackensack by offering something different.”

Sue was born and raised in Hackensack, the daughter of Dorothy Harrington and the late Fay Harrington. She and Doug and their three sons enjoy spending as much time as possible in Hack.

Doug is an avid home brewer and enjoys exploring different styles of beer. After he and Sue had visited numerous taprooms, they began asking themselves, “Why couldn’t we do this in Hackensack?”

“I want to create beer that appeals to many people but that is fun and tastes great,” he added. “Beer should be approachable and is meant to be enjoyed. I also like to experiment and brew beer that is unusual and delightful.”

This taproom would sell the brewery’s own beers, and would be open shorter hours (maybe noon to 8 p..m.) than a full-service bar, while providing a place for friends and family to gather and socialize, hold meetings, even parties.

The first step in the process is the city permit, which the council approved, assuming everything else falls in place. A brewery license is a totally separate type of license from a liquor license, city clerk Jody Knapp said. Maintenance supervisor Dana Stanko said he saw no problem with the brewery’s sewer and water usage.

Next come applications for federal and state permits, which could take several months. Sue Toth estimated it also will take four to eight months to order and receive delivery of brewing equipment.

The council discussed shared maintenance responsibilities with Ron Benisch of Birch Lake Township, notably the dire need for new gravel on Cemetery Road and Poquet Road. Taking the budget into consideration, Stanko suggested graveling Poquet Road this year and Cemetery Road next year, which the council approved. The city’s portion of the gravel bill will be about $3,300.

Gary Dietrich of the Hackensack Game Changers explained the new Hackensack Lakes Area Community Foundation (HLACF) and what it can do for the community.

HLACF is an endowment fund created to develop community resources and enhance the quality of life for individuals and families in the Hackensack and Backus area.

Working with the Initiative Foundation of Little Falls, which provided a $10,000 grant, a group of local residents will work to carry out the goals of the fund:

• Build the endowment through individual donations;

• Provide a local voice on community and school priorities and interests; and

• Disburse resources through a grant process that responds to community priorities and interests.

All endowments and donations will go into the IF’s investment portfolio, with interest to be spent on community projects. For more information visit hackensackfund.org.

In other matters, Knapp presented the proposed 2020 budget. The council will study the budget and discuss it further at the September meeting. Because of the Labor Day holiday, the next council meeting will be Sept. 3.

Councilor Bill Kennedy will investigate installing in-ground sprinklers for the new sod by the fishing pier.

For the second month, nobody was present to discuss possible striping of the tennis courts for both tennis and pickle ball. Kennedy will check what it cost Walker to build separate pickleball courts  and will identify possible locations.

The council approved a temporary liquor license for the Hackensack Chain Saw Event at the end of September.

The Hackensack Lions will hold a free community picnic Aug. 20 at 5 p.m. by the Lions pavilion/playground at city park.


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