By Martin J. Kidston
The Havre City Councils four-member Parks and Recreation Committee voted to continue the prohibition on alcohol in Legion Field Monday night, maintaining a five-year-old ban on drinking in city parks.
The vote came after American Legion Baseball President Pat Newell approached the city council May 17 to request an exemption for alcohol sales at Legion Field during special sporting events, such as baseball tournaments. Newell asked the council for permission to open a beer garden which, he said, would be isolated away from the bleachers. He also pointed out that alcohol sales were permitted at the Sixth Avenue softball field, providing a good deal of revenue during tournaments.
The City Council passed the request on to the Parks and Recreation Committee for review.
Committee Chairman Rick Pierson said the council later reviewed Newells request and carefully weighed the issues.
We decided against allowing alcohol sales, Pierson said. There was quite a bit of public opinion, especially from people who live in that area.
Pierson cited safety concerns, the good of the American Legion Baseball Program and the memories of past problems when alcohol was legal for consumption in the citys parks.
We were having problems in Pepin Park several years ago, and because of the situations that arose, we banned the consumption of alcohol in city parks, Pierson said. We felt that as a committee, the current ordinance in effect was good enough and that if the legion team needed to raise money there were other ways of doing so besides selling alcohol at their games.
The Sixth Avenue softball complex is grandfathered under the current ordinance, thus permitting the sale of alcohol at that location. It is the lone city park where alcohol is not forbidden.
Pierson said Mayor Phyllis Leonard supported the decision.
The Parks and Recreation committee consists of Pierson, Gary Glock, Arnie Tyler and Emily Mayer-Lossing.