City considering liquor sales on Town Common
By Seth Thomas Gulledge
The Daily Reflector
Monday, August 20, 2018
Greenville residents may soon be able to enjoy mixed drinks at events on the Town Common thanks to City Council vote to develop an ordinance allowing for the sale of fortified wine and liquor in the park.
The Aug. 9 vote follows implementation of a similar ordinance that has allowed for the sale of wine and beer during events at the park. Several events including PirateFest and a weekday summer concert series have followed the ordinance to sell beer and allow drinking in large areas of the park with security measures in place.
Many events on the common, including the popular Sunday in the Park series, which held its last show of the season on Sunday, and the city annual July 4 celebration, did not allow sale and consumption in the park.
The council passed a trial beer ordinance in March 2017 that expired in December. The board in January put a slightly modified the ordinance into effect with no sunset clause to all event promoters to seek permits for beer and wine sales.
At the Aug. 9 meeting, the council unanimously directed staff to draft a policy and procedure for council to consider that would allow for the sale and consumption of fortified wine and liquor in the park.
The discussion was requested by District 3 Councilman Will Bell, who said he believed allowing for the option would be beneficial to bringing larger events to Greenville, as well as offering more entertainment options for residents.
“While we try to activate the Town Common more and more we have to have things that would off-set the cost of a bigger act,” said Bell. “I figure this could be one more avenue to generate revenue and profit for anyone who would want to hold an event.”
According to a staff presentation by Assistant City Manager Micheal Cowin, state law would allow for an ordinance allowing for a one-time permit to be issued to a nonprofit organization renting the park. Cowin said many other cities in North Carolina have a similar permitting process.
Other restrictions imposed on the permit could include a designated alcohol zone, a cutoff around 10 p.m., and a minimum amount of police officers to be hired for the alcohol area.
Following approval by the council, Cowin said staff would be ready to bring back an ordinance to be considered by one of the September council meetings.
Contact Seth Gulledge at Sgulledge@reflector.com and 329-9579. Follow him on Twitter @GulledgeSeth