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Springettsbury Twp. supervisors consider alcohol in public parks
The Rotary Club of York-East and the Rotary Club of North York want to jointly host in Springettsbury Township "Pints for Polio," a fundraiser that will raise money toward eradicating polio.
However, the municipality strictly prohibits "the possession, use or distribution of alcoholic beverages and controlled substances" in its parks, township manager Ben Marchant said.
The Rotary event would be held on Wednesday, July 18, in conjunction with a free summer concert series performance scheduled at Springettsbury Township Park Amphitheater, 1501 Mount Zion Road, Marchant said.
The only way to legally do that is to amend the rules through an ordinance, Marchant explained.
“They would do that with a beer garden, selling pints for polio,” he continued.
Both clubs, he said, would be responsible for making sure servers were licensed and that their actions are compliant with the state Liquor Control Board.
The idea was presented to supervisors last month.
Now, they are puzzled about whether they should approve private businesses, nonprofits and individuals for limited alcohol access, as well as if supervisors, representing a public entity, should sponsor any events.
Supervisor Blanda Nace said he can “see both sides.” He said he was most curious about what the township’s matrix would be.
“I’m in favor of it, but I need to know what our decision-making process is,” he explained.
Nace said he’d investigate the logistics of alcohol use in other municipalities such as York City, West Manchester Township and West York borough through one of his contacts.
“They could provide insight into what works and doesn’t work,” he said.
Nace joked, saying he’d love to have a “family reunion and bring a keg to the park,” but questioned what the rules are for his approval. He added, jokingly, his brother is “big,” and he could be “security.”
Supervisor Kathleen Phan said she doesn't want things to get out of control if there isn’t a designated “babysitter.”
“Does that become our police department? ... That’s my biggest concern with all of this,” Phan said. “Are we going to set ourselves up because our ordinance isn’t clear enough?”
Springettsbury Township staff needs to get behind the idea, from the police department to administration, to reduce liability fears, Phan said.
“We have more cons than pros,” she said. “If we can’t make a decision, we may just have to say no.”
Supervisor George Dvoryak echoed the same sentiment, emphasizing it doesn't matter the circumstances, he would not support alcohol in public parks.
In other municipalities where Marchant has worked, he said, they not only charged a fee but also required a deposit "to encourage good behavior, to clean up after themselves."
“What you want to do is have a well-structured ordinance,” Marchant said.
Another ordinance facet could be limiting where alcohol is allowed, supervisor Charles Wurster said. Of the 11 township parks, he said, maybe supervisors could focus only on allowing it in Springettsbury Township Park.