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IC parks commission looks to allow alcohol

BY JANET LAWLER | SEPTEMBER 15, 2011 7:20 AM

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Alcohol consumption has a possibility of going beyond bars, restaurants, and private property in Iowa City following a Parks and Recreation meeting Wednesday.

The Parks and Recreation Department discussed the possibility of speaking to the City Council about allowing alcohol on public venues that can be rented for events. For example, venues that can be used to host wedding receptions, in particular, the Terry Trueblood Lodge, 4213 S.E. Sand Road, currently under construction.

"City code does not allow alcohol in city buildings," said City Clerk Marian Karr. "Since the Terry Trueblood Pavilion will be a city building [the Parks and Recreation Department] would have to ask City Council to change the current section of the code."

Michael Moran, the director of Parks and Recreation, said he has spoken to City Manager Tom Markus about when the topic could be brought before the council. Markus said the topic would probably brought up after the election.

"It would be remise of us to build a lodge without the ability to have alcohol there," Moran said.
Moran said requests from the Public Library and the Senior Center to have alcohol on the premises spurred the topic to be put up for discussion and reflection on behalf of Commission members.

"Right now, there are no options not available to us," Moran said. "We would either do as we have at Riverside [Shakespeare Theatre] put burden on the person doing the renting what with permits or the burden on us where we would provide staff and serve the alcohol."

The Terry Trueblood Lodge is a seven- to eight-month construction plan, estimated to be open to the public to rent one year from now, Moran said.

Tammy Neumann, administrative secretary of Parks and Recreation, said she would like to see alcohol at certain venues that are rented out for events.

"If a facility does not allow alcohol, it wouldn't get the number of reservations as if it did allow alcohol," Neumann said. "Many people won't choose to reserve because of that."

Karr said the current agreement the Parks and Recreation has with Riverside Theatre provides certain revenue for the department. Revenue and reservations, Neumann said, that would be missed by the city and the facilities that are common for events that typically involve alcohol.

"A big part [of why alcohol is not allowed on public property] is minors drinking and the difficulties to police such large, open areas," Neumann said.

No formal action has been taken involving the matter yet. Moran put the item on the agenda to start commission members thinking about possible points of discussion to the City Council.

"The alcohol issue always brought up is a different animal in Iowa City," Moran said.


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