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Emmitsburg OKs park alcohol use

(12/11) The Emmitsburg Town Council approved permitting the use of alcohol in town parks by fundraising organizations,

The council’s decision to permit alcohol in the parks was made at the council’s December 1 meeting based on the recommendation of Town Manager David Haller.

On introducing the concept, Haller told the council, "This is a proposed revision to our ordinance related to park use that would allow for existing, bona fide community service organizations to obtain a daily permit to use alcohol in our parks."

The proposal he was recommending, he said, is "much more restrictive than the (recently adopted) county program which would actually allow individuals to obtain permits (in county parks)."

"This (the town’s process) would not allow for individuals to obtain permits. It’s only for existing public service groups to do fundraising and what not," he said.

Haller said the practice of serving alcholic beverages in conjunction with community fundraisers "is a practice that’s used in our general area by a number of community service groups to raise money to thereby support themselves and put less of a burden on the taxpayers."

The town manager said that, at present, town staff was not suggesting a permit fee be charged but would devlop one if the council requested it.

"We certainly could include a fee if you feel appropriate," Haller stated. "I think we charge $20 or $25 for permits for the entire year to allow businesses to practice their business on the sidewalk. We would be open to any direction that you would like to give us with establishing a policy…"

Tim Clark, board member of the Emmitsburg Vigilant Hose Company, told the council, "We want to show our support for passage of this ordinance."

Clark stated, "We’ve found it more and more difficult to come up with different ideas on how to raise the money. The use of the park would enhance our ability to do different fundraisers in that arena."

"We’re certainly well aware of our responsibility that any fundraisers we do have in the park that include alcohol are policed appropriately and handled in a professional manner," he stated.

Regarding site policing, Haller said, "Though we haven’t developed a final policy at this time…staff would foresee alcohol use being restricted to a certain area of the park…a beer garden type of arrangement…and the permittee would be responsible for policing of the area."

Council President Christopher V. Staiger said, "It’s (having alcohol) a function to a lot of events."

However, he said, "The permit wouldn’t be for the entire park, and the park is going to be a multi-use area with any number of people there…I think we need to be careful one use doesn’t overrun or impinge on the use of that park by other individuals."

The new rule was adopted unanimously.

Rick Fulton may be contacted at

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