Culinary Infusion, a catering and events company looking to open at 2219 Washington Ave., received a recommendation from the Racine Planning Commission Tuesday to rezone the property.

Kenosha-based catering and banquet facility Circa on Seventh LLC bought the former Our Savior’s Lutheran Church of Racine, 2219 Washington Ave., for $325,000 in December. Kathy Meyer, who owns Circa on Seventh, plans to operate Culinary Infusion out of the church and mansion as a catering, event, banquet and lodging facility.

The Plan Commission unanimously approved the rezoning request from an office institutional district to having a flexible overlay at its meeting Tuesday following a public hearing.

Mayor John Dickert raised questions on whether Meyer had enough parking, which staff noted was 22 spaces short. The venue is expected to bring up to 300 people per event. However, Meyer explained that most of the events she has had in Kenosha were less than 210 people per event. In total, the business is expected to attract 5,000 wedding guests to Racine each year.

“I want to think about your success on this and if you are that crowded, then what… then what do we do?” Dickeret asked.

Dickert suggested that Meyer talk to an adjacent business owner about possibly using his parking.

Meyer said there were a few places she could additional parking spots without changing the integrity of the building.

Dickert applauded Meyer’s project and called it “exciting.” because it would be a “beautiful anchor” that would be a great addition to what they want to do in uptown Racine.

Regina Scott-Brooks, who lives near the church at 1516 Kearney Ave., said she loves the idea of the project, but she too had concerns about the parking because when the church held service on Sundays parking was an issue.

“If they are going to have guests up to 300, the parking on Kearney, Washington, Taylor and Slauson will be x’d out and during the winter when we had alternate side parking it was the worst,” Scott-Brooks said.

Another public hearing is expected to be scheduled at the next Common Council meeting and staff have been directed to develop planning documents that will be presented to the Common Council.

 

 

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.