Duke of Sutherland Park site of pilot project

The City of Brooks is piloting a new program that allows for the consumption of alcohol in city parks.

The program began July 1st, and will continue until August 31st in Veteran’s Park and designated areas in Duke of Sutherland Park and McKay Park.

When we did a pilot last year in, in, in concert with our food truck day, we did it in one park, and we monitored it last year for any issues,” said Barry Morishita, Mayor of Brooks. “Our hope was that people would be encouraged to go to our craft breweries and buy local spirits and just enjoy them in the park while they're enjoying the food. It went really well last yearWe had no incidents whatsoever, we had no safety issues, we had no policing issues, so we decided to broaden it to three parks in the city in designated areas.”

With the success of the previous pilot program, there were no major concerns raised by local law enforcement in regards to this year’s program, said Morishita. People overindulging in the park is also not a concern.

“We noticed people consuming in the parks more when there were empties left out and such, we knew it was happening before,” said Morishita.  “We just think that people can be adults about it, and behave themselves. If we did anticipate that, you know, we would have to worry about people over-drinking during those hours, then we probably wouldn't have done this.”

In addition to alcohol only being permitted in select areas, consumption in the parks is limited to between the hours of 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.

“If you're going to spend your kind of lunchtime in the park, 11 was a reasonable time to start, if you're going to have a picnic and start at 11 o'clock, for example,” said Morishita. It’s okay to have a glass of wine while you picnic and some people might start having lunch at 11. We didn't want to go past nine because we anticipate that those will be daylight hours and you know it was easy to understand what was going on as far as the patrolling and monitoring goes.”

“It was just meant to be a social opportunity. Drinking alcohol is legal for people that are 18 years of age and older, so we're saying they might as well enjoy the spaces. It's in a controlled way and we think it will be good for Brooks. It's just a privilege that I think people will earn; we'll keep it if they behave themselves and I anticipate that the community will,” said Morishita.

Information on the designated areas is available on the City of Brooks website.

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