Panel backs allowing beer, wine in Janesville parks
JANESVILLE The issue of allowing beer and wine in Janesville parks has bubbled up again.
The city's leisure services committee recommended this week that residents be allowed to purchase permits for specific pavilions at three parks.
This is the second year the recreation department has forwarded a request to the city council to allow beer and wine in parks.
The council typically entertains such changes during budget discussions because of their potential effect on revenue.
The recommendation was unanimous among the 11-member leisure services committee, which includes Councilman Jim Farrell.
Shelley Slapak, acting recreation director, said her department is bringing the issue forward again because staff continuously get requests from residents who wish to have beer when they rent pavilions for reunions, wedding receptions and other gatherings.
When residents are told it's not allowed, they often turn to parks outside the city where alcohol is allowed, such as county parks, she said.
The council recently allowed alcohol for people who rent the senior center and during baseball tournaments. It stopped short, though, of allowing beer in parks. Beer already is allowed on golf courses and at Rotary Gardens.
The committee recommends the city allow beer in limited areas, Slapak said.
"We thought we'd start out small and see where it goes—how it works—and then go from there in future years," Slapak said.
The recommended park areas are:
-- The warming house and Lions Pavilion in Traxler Park.
-- The north and south pavilions in Riverside Park.
-- The Hilltop Pavilion in Palmer Park.
The committee recommends pricing the permit at $50. That would be in addition to basic pavilion permits, which range from $45 at the Hilltop Pavilion to $85 for the warming house.
"It's a way for the city to generate additional revenue and also a way for us to answer to the citizen requests," Slapak said.
At Rock County parks, residents do not pay extra for beer permits if they rent pavilions. The charge for most county pavilions is $75. The cost for a beer/wine permit alone—without a picnic shelter—is $25.
The Janesville committee recommends alcohol consumption be limited to the pavilions and a designated radius around them.
"We don't want people walking around the park," Slapak said. "We don't want people thinking that just because they show up in a park, they can consume beer and wine."
Janesville is one of the few cities in the state that doesn't issue alcohol permits for its parks, Slapak said. She hears of few problems in other communities, she said.
The committee also recommends the city not allow glass bottles and that alcohol consumption be stopped at 9 p.m. Two of the three designated parks are open until 11 p.m.