Alcohol Could Soon Make it into Fayetteville Parks


The Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board considered a change to the city code that would allow alcoholic beverages into the park system.

The new proposal could make an impact on the economy, and quality of life, in the area.

The Fayetteville Parks and Recreation Department did it’s research, looking at cities like Little Rock, North Little Rock and Fort Smith, which have all passed similar ordinances, when considering a change to allow alcohol into city parks for special events.

“I’d rather them have the fun, family atmosphere than just seeing people get rowdy and crazy,” said Kenny Cox, who lives in Fayetteville.

“Alcohol in the parks probably isn’t the best idea for a family setting,” said Joe Thoma, a teacher at Fayetteville High. 

“As long as they’re not selling it to underage and being responsible and no one is going to crazy around here, I don’t see a problem with it,” said Doug Lloyd, who lives in Fayetteville.

The jury is still out. On Wednesday, the board discussed the possibility of allowing alcoholic beverages at special events in its park system.
“People would come in, eat at our restaurants, hotel, motel, it would be an economic engine back into our city,” said Connie Edmonston, the director of the Fayetteville Parks and Recreation department.

The current city code says no alcohol is permitted ever on park grounds. The Homegrown Music and Mountain Sports Festival hopes that will change.

“We’re going to be the flagship festival going forward and I think other people will benefit in the future from it,” said Jeremy Gunn, the manager of Homegrown on the Mountain, the non-profit that puts on the festival.

The completely-free, three-day event relies on alcohol sales to generate revenue. Gunn says they have the experience to make it work.

“We’re going to work well with city fire, traffic, police, to make sure we meet their expectations going forward,” Gunn said.

Edmonston says her crew knows how to keep it from getting out of hand.
“We are pretty good risk-managers, we do that as part of our everyday life as part of parks and recreation,” Edmonston said.

The ordinance will now be taken to the Fayetteville City Council for the first reading on January 2. Each special event will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and must follow the Alcoholic Beverage Control guidelines. The mayor, or a designee of his choice, will ultimately have the final say.

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