Alcohol issue bubbles up again

The Tabernacle is one site used during the annual Wild West Festival which welcomes thousands of visitors – including hundreds of children – annually. However, both are protected by current regulations from alcohol sales of any kind. Photo by Christina Derr

The Tabernacle is one site used during the annual Wild West Festival which welcomes thousands of visitors – including hundreds of children – annually. However, both are protected by current regulations from alcohol sales of any kind.
Photo by Christina Derr
BY CHRISTINA DERR
christina@azlenews.net

An issue that many thought had been put to bed by the Springtown city council was again a topic for discussion July 26.
Last September, the council by a narrow vote of 3-2 approved amending the city’s code of ordinances to allow for the sale of beer, wine, and ales at city parks under strict regulation.
However, the city has a new council and one member – Bill White – asked for a chance to voice his disagreement.
There are two other like-minded members of the council – the duo who voted in opposition to the change last fall: Council member Annette Burk and newly appointed Mayor Greg Hood.
Burk was not at the meeting due to illness, and as mayor, Hood only gets a vote in the event of a tie.
White, however, argued his case to repeal the ordinance to his fellow council members.
His main concern, he said was that many children are at the events where alcoholic beverages are proposed to be sold, and that if there people staggering around with beer or wine in their hands, it presents a danger to any minor who happens to be in attendance.
“There’s an awful lot kids there, and we have got to protect our kids,” he said.
He also voiced concern about the possibility that someone could drunkenly spill a beverage on someone’s wife or children and that could lead to an altercation.
For those reasons, White wanted to discuss repealing the ordinance – or at least additional restrictions like only allowing beverages to be purchased, possessed, and consumed in an area designated for that purpose rather than allowing those who choose to have a drink or drinks wander throughout the event.
Mayor Pro Tem Michele Chandler Kelley and Council member Richelle Pruitt, who were the driving forces behind the ordinance, and two of its three “for” votes when it originally passed said they didn’t object to additional restrictions.
City Administrator David Miller said that the city already heavily regulates the availability and use of a permit.
Permits cannot be gained for the town’s most popular festivals: Wild West and Christmas on the Square.
No alcohol is allowed on the grounds of the Tabernacle or the War Memorial.
Only four such permits can be issued annually, and must be applied for 90 days in advance of the event.
Miller said that city staff would work with City Attorney Cara White to present possible changes to the ordinance that will allow for some of the restrictions White was requesting, but no action was taken.