Alcohol a go at city parks

Kile Brewer
Posted 10/4/17

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – As expected, the Green Cove Springs City Council voted 5-0 to lift its ban on intoxicating beverages within city parks and properties at its Oct. 3 meeting.

In another …

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Alcohol a go at city parks

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – As expected, the Green Cove Springs City Council voted 5-0 to lift its ban on intoxicating beverages within city parks and properties at its Oct. 3 meeting.

In another unanimous vote, the council agreed to expedite the cleanup process in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

The alcohol ordinance update, which went through its second reading, lifts the current ban on alcoholic beverages within city parks and properties. The city’s move follows similar action the Clay County Board of County Commissioners took earlier this year to allow controlled alcohol sales at the county fairgrounds. The city based its ordinance on the one drafted and approved by the BCC, but left more restrictions in place and maintained slightly more control over what events can bring beer and wine into the city’s parks.

“Sale just kind of connotes profit making,” council member Van Royal said.

The council agreed to allow beer and wine, but opted to remove any language that implies the beverages can be sold. Removal of the word sale from all wording included in the ordinance will prevent organizations from attempting to set up for-profit beer gardens at city-sponsored events. The city will also decide on a case-by-case basis who will be able to serve alcohol at their event. The topic was brought up initially by Sandra Royal, the organizer and director for the CalaVida Arts Festival, which takes place in mid-October. At the event, Royal had hoped to serve guests two drinks maximum using drink tickets that would be traded for wine glasses instead of cash. The wine has been donated for the event and will serve as an atmospheric element to a pre-dinner reception at a festival VIP event.

The council voted unanimously to approve the ordinance after changes to the language to remove any implication that alcohol can be sold for profit, in addition to a few changes City Attorney Jim Arnold mentioned after reviewing the drafted ordinance prior to the meeting’s start time.

“It’s a little easier to be more restrictive on the front end and at a future date if we want to change it we can,” said Mayor Mitch Timberlake. “It’s a whole lot harder to start off loose and try to come back and draw it in.”

In other business, City Manager Danielle Judd added a supplemental emergency item to the agenda, asking the council for direction on how to go about speeding up the post-hurricane cleanup in and around the city.

“Staff and public works are doing a remarkable job on this debris removal but it’s just not moving fast enough,” Judd said.

Judd asked the council for approval to bring in additional trucks that can be used to haul away debris left behind in the storm’s wake. The trucks will be contracted with on an as-needed basis and will cost the city extra money, which may or may not be reimbursed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“I’m in complete support of this,” Van Royal said. “Whatever it takes, Madam City Manager, I’m going to support you.”

Following Royal’s support for the emergency item, other council members indicated that the cleanup needs to be dealt with as soon as possible, and decided with another unanimous vote.

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