CROWN POINT | A move to permit beer sales in a confined area of adult league play at the city sports complex passed an early test on Monday.
The City Council in a 6-1 vote gave preliminary approval to amending a city ordinance to permit alcoholic beverages in park areas that have been clearly posted and designated by the city and the Indiana Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
City ordinance currently prohibits carrying, possessing or drinking alcohol anywhere in city parks.
A public hearing and final vote on the amendment are planned at next month's council meeting. The city has applied to the Indiana Alcoholic Beverage Commission for a permit to sell beer at the sports complex, City Attorney David Nicholls said.
Amending the ordinance is a necessary step before the application can be processed, he said.
The decision on whether to proceed with beer sales at the sports complex, should the state commission approve the permit, is a matter for a later discussion, Mayor David Uran said.
Only beer would be sold, and only within a newly constructed, fenced off area of the sports complex where adult league softball play is planned, Uran said.
Alcohol would not be sold in that section of the complex when youth teams are playing on fields, Uran said.
Councilman Bill Feder, D-at large, voted in favor of the amendment on first reading Monday.
"We want to at least allow this to move forward," Feder said.
Councilwoman Laura Sauerman, R-4th, cast the lone vote against the amendment, saying it's a quality of life issue.
"This begins to blur the lines between family and adult activities," Sauerman said. "I have some concerns."
Players and spectators who want a drink after a game can choose from a variety of bars in the downtown, Sauerman said. "The city doesn't need to try to compete with them."
The city owned sports complex on North Street also is home to youth football, soccer and lacrosse and to youth softball, all in separate areas of the park.
The three new adult-sized softball fields are to open this spring.