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County OKs alcohol for catered events at Clarks Bridge Park

POSTED: April 23, 2009 11:02 p.m.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 Thursday to allow alcoholic beverage catering at the Clarks Bridge rowing venue.

The resolution allows businesses with a catering and alcoholic beverage license to apply for an off-premises pouring license to serve alcohol at particular events.

It also allows for the permits to be used at the Clarks Bridge rowing venue, which is both a Hall County and Gainesville facility.

The resolution would not provide any new liquor licenses, but rather allow businesses that already have them to sell alcohol at events outside their permanent location.

During a public hearing, Hall County residents Douglas Aiken and Larry Poole, who serves on the Parks and Leisure Board, spoke in opposition to the resolution.

Aiken said a facility that teaches rowing to young children should be treated like a school, where alcohol is not allowed.

"Can’t our children have a safe refuge from drugs and alcohol?" Aiken said. "I literally beg you. Don’t do it."

He also expressed concerns about the liability of having a liquor licence in the park and leisure director’s name.

Poole said allowing alcohol at events goes against the Park and Leisure Board’s zero tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol in county parks.

"I really think it needs to be further considered," Poole said. "It opens the door to events all over."

Commissioner Steve Gailey proposed amending the resolution so that the Clarks Bridge venue and other parks would not be eligible for catering with alcoholic beverages.

The resolution specifies the Clarks Bridge location, a popular location for wedding receptions, as the only park eligible for off-premises catering.

Four of the commissioners voted to approve the measure, Gailey voted against it.

In other business, commissioners discussed revising the county’s code of ethics.

Following a heated discussion at the commission’s last meeting, Gailey suggested teaming up with Commissioner Bobby Banks to review what was discussed and voted on and make a recommendation to the commission within two weeks.

"We know we’ve got to do something ethics wise," Gailey said. "The public is demanding it."


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