City officials are again mulling allowing alcohol to be served at certain events in the Community Cabin.
City Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee held the plan in committee at its March 22 meeting to investigate issues raised by Ward 4 Councilman Larry Orlowski.
At the meeting, Orlowski said other cities require temporary liquor permits for events at city facilities where alcohol is served, as well as making sure the event has adequate insurance coverage of up to one million dollars, either from event organizers and/or having the city carry a rider. The panel also considered under what circumstances off-duty police officers would be hired for the events and for how long they would stay.
Mayor Kevin Kennedy’s administration initially proposed the idea of alcohol in the community cabin last year, along with allowing the VFW to serve alcohol in a limited area at the annual Homecoming activities in August. Council approved it in a monitored tent for Homecoming but held off on approving it for the Community Cabin. Several members expressed concerns and said they would like to see how the Homecoming event went first.
During the discussion, Kennedy said applications would be reviewed by the Safety/Service Director on a case-by-case basis. He said the director could reject any applications he didn’t feel would work.
“We wouldn’t accept any events that the director has concerns about,” he said later.
Kennedy said off-duty officers likely wouldn’t be required for small events of only a few people, but that one would be brought in for large receptions and events. Law Director Michael Gareau Jr. noted people or organizations renting the Community Cabin for events would cover the insurance. He also said that placing too many restrictions or requirements would dramatically reduce the number of people who utilize the facility for events with alcohol.
Orlowski noted other cities do set specific guidelines.
“They use a lot of them to regulate the events and how they’re handled,” he said. “Let’s take a look at what other people do and see whether it’s something we should do. We should take a step back as council and see how people do it and how it might be here.”
He urged administration officials to look at Rocky River, Fairview Park and other Northeast Ohio cities with facilities where events are held. Orlowski said he would pass along information he has gathered on the issue.
Gareau said he would look into the various issues raised.
Kennedy also said afterward the Homecoming beer tent was handled without problems, as well as having beer in a specified area of City Park after a Labor Day parade several years ago.
“Those events were handled well,” he said. “These types of events with good guidelines (can) be something nice for the city and the people at the event.”
Police Chief Wayne Wozniak noted the city did not have issues with the post Labor Day parade event or the Homecoming beer tent. He said having off-duty officers helps reduce the possibility of problems. The department keeps a ready list of officers available for use at community special events.
Committee Chairman Kevin Kearney said holding it in committee would allow a better review of all the potential issues involved.
Ward 3 Councilman Paul Schumann, who is president of the Olmsted Historical Society, said special events with alcohol can work well if handled properly. He said the Society has held successful events at its Frostville Museum Campus in the Cleveland Metroparks.
Ward 2 Councilman Paul Barker, who was one of the people who raised concerns last year, said he’s willing to again consider the matter. He said the administration has worked hard to come up with solid proposals and that a good review could net a workable events policy.