Blaine council addresses charitable gambling permit requests

The Blaine City Council March 6 unanimously approved two new charitable gambling premise permits for the Spring Lake Park Youth Hockey Association.

The new spots are Bluzy’s Roadside Grill, 12530 Ulysses St. NE, and Bricks American Pub, 10901 Baltimore St. NE.

The council unanimously approved both permits without any discussion after seeing that the association meets the city’s charitable gambling ordinance.

On the other hand, the council had many questions and concerns in January when the Ham Lake Area Chamber of Commerce requested a premise permit at Bluzy’s.

City Clerk Jane Cross told the council Jan. 2 when this issue was first addressed that the ordinance requires an organization to have a principal office in the city of Blaine for at least two years and that it spend a majority of its proceeds for the benefit of Blaine residents.

The council was concerned that the Ham Lake Area Chamber of Commerce did not meet the spirit of the city’s charitable gambling ordinance. Its offices are in Ham Lake whereas the youth hockey association lists its address at Fogerty Arena in Blaine.

Wendy Renner, executive director of the Ham Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, told the council that the funds would have gone to the Majestic Oaks DKM (Derek Kuduk Memorial) Community Foundation and ultimately post-secondary scholarships for students whose parents are members at Majestic Oaks in Ham Lake.

This organization started in 2009 in honor of a boy who died from cancer at the age of 10 in 1994. His parents Mike and Elaine had immediately started a golf tournament to benefit the Minneapolis Children’s Hospital and the Make a Wish Foundation. His parents organized the golf fundraiser for 15 years before the new foundation formed.

Rick Vanyo, chairperson of the Majestic Oaks DKM Community Foundation, said they currently give out 10 to 15 scholarships each year. Most of those students attend Blaine High School, although there are students from other Anoka County high schools that receive scholarships. The organization started out giving $500 scholarships and then $1,000 scholarships and hoped that another pull tab location would enable it to give out even more.

At the Jan. 16 council meeting, Councilmember Dave Clark said he had trouble with the fact that this foundation limited who could apply for scholarships. According to the foundation’s president Dan Schmitz, members of the men’s and women’s clubs or their family members or employees of the golf course could apply.

Councilmember Kathy Kolb felt the foundation and chamber of commerce did not provide enough specifics on how many Blaine residents would benefit from this scholarship program.

Councilmember Dick Swanson said the council has granted waivers to allow organizations not based in Blaine to have charitable gambling spots in Blaine, but only when the group has a long history of helping Blaine residents. The Spring Lake Park Lions Club is one example.

Mayor Tom Ryan Jan. 16 suggested the city wait to see if another organization would apply for the charitable gambling location at Bluzy’s.

“I’d like to wait and see if there is another Blaine organization that would try it,” Ryan said.

Eric Hagen is at
[email protected]