Alcohol sales permitted at PACE Park

Aug. 23, 2014 @ 08:10 AM

The PACE Park Amphitheater will allow the sale and consumption of alcohol after the Thomasville City Council voted 4-2 in favor of modifying park rules during its scheduled meeting Monday.

Representatives with People Achieving Community Enhancement requested the change in an effort to attract more people to community events held at the amphitheater.

“We feel it can be done in a safe and responsible way,” Councilman Scott Styers said. “One of the things we're trying to do is revitalize our downtown area ... That was my reason to be willing to vote for the [modification]. My request was that we not expand it past the fenced-in parking area.”

Alcoholic beverages will remain prohibited in areas near the park, as city ordinances prevent the sale or consumption of strong drink on any city-owned property. The only other exceptions are Finch Field during HiToms games and the Farmer's Market, located adjacent to the park.

In May, the council voted 4-2 in favor of the amendment, but it was brought before the council Monday because such a change requires a supermajority. The ordinance was made official this week because it required only a simple majority on the second reading. Councilwoman Pat Shelton was unable to be present for either vote. She was excused from both meetings due to illness.

PACE Park rules now state the “sale of malt beverages and unfortified wines are only allowed by non-profit organizations with proper North Carolina ALE permit.” A certificate of liability insurance will be required by the city before any event at which alcohol is sold. At least two off-duty police officers must also be on hand for such an occasion.

Councilmen Ronald Bratton, Neal Grimes, Joe Leonard and Styers voted for the modification, while councilmen Raleigh York and Joel Pierce voted against the changes.

“I don't support alcohol sales,” York said. “I know when this came up originally, there were several statements made about trouble that would happen in these areas with the type of events you may have. The statement was made by one of the council persons at the time that it's not a matter of if it happens, but when. I don't think I should be endorsing something we think is going to be a problem at some point.”

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3578, or at kennedy@tvilletimes.com.