Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Port Richey approves alcohol sale at some library events

NEW PORT RICHEY — The contentious campaign to sell alcohol at public events got an extra push Tuesday night when the City Council approved its sale at an unusual spot: the local library.

The council's vote makes the Main Street library the newest place for residents to buy beer or wine during up to three special events a year. In November, the city voted to allow alcohol sales at limited events at Sims Park and Orange Lake Park, on top of the pocket park at Cavalaire Square.

Tuesday's vote drew renewed criticism from some residents, who said the sales could spoil the family-friendly feel of downtown festivities. Pointing to a 2000 referendum in which about two-thirds of voters rejected the alcohol sales, some asked why the city continued to allow new drinking spots against residents' wishes.

"My question is: Where will this end?" resident Walter Casson wrote in a letter to the council. "Is the City Recreation Complex next? … What about the new public works compound? Would that make a good place for a Holiday Party?"

Event organizers and supporters, however, call the sales a financial success.

The Cotee River Bike Fest sold about $22,000 in beer in October, according to the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce. Sales in Sims Park during last year's Chasco Fiesta brought in $8,000. And three Greater New Port Richey Main Street events — the Cotee River Seafood Festival, the Main Street Blast and A Night in the Tropics — yielded a total of more than $12,000 in beer and wine profits.

Hoping to raise cash after closing time, the library's advisory board asked for a similar approval that would allow them to sell alcohol at soirees like book readings or author signings, said former board president and council member-elect Bob Langford. "I don't understand how we could possibly be hurting by offering wine and cheese, or wine and chocolate-dipped strawberries," Langford said. "The idea that people would be coming to the library to get drunk is beyond my wildest imagination."

Still, the ordinance sets some limits to the libations on city-owned property. The city can allow beer or wine at a maximum of eight events a year, excluding up to three from the library. Organizers must pay for security to patrol the gates and monitor alcohol-free zones like playgrounds. And special events with alcohol will, unlike dry events, need an extra step of approval from the City Council.

The council on Tuesday approved the measure unanimously, although council member Judy DeBella Thomas was out sick.

Council member Bob Consalvo, who voted against the sales in previous meetings, said police officers have seen no alcohol-related problems in the two years since the sales began.

In fact, officers are finding they have less to watch for now that visitors can drink legally, Mayor Scott McPherson said. He sees the alcohol as a big potential boom for the library's ailing budget, not a slippery slope into drunken debauchery.

"They're talking about having some wine and cheese and a poetry reading, for crying out loud," he said. "I don't think you're going to have gangsters coming to a poetry reading."

Drew Harwell can be reached at dharwell@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6244.

New Port Richey approves alcohol sale at some library events 03/17/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 8:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tributes pour in for ex-national security adviser Brzezinski

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — Well before he went to the White House in 1977, Jimmy Carter was impressed by the views of foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski. That Carter immediately liked the Polish-born academic advising his campaign was a plus.

    Foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski died Friday.
  2. One year after deaths, Sunset Music Festival kicks off with emphasis on water and security

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Before the beat drops, or even builds, you hear Steve-O.

    "If you don't get water you're lame!"

    "Hey! Free water! Come on!"

    Steve "Steve-O" Raymond motions to guests making the line to grab free water bottle at the entrance of the Sunset Music Festival on the grounds of the Raymond James Stadium parking lot in Tampa. ( LUIS SANTANA   |   Times)
  3. Twins eventually cash in as Rays lose, fall back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays could only battle their way out of trouble for so long Saturday afternoon before succumbing in a 5-2 loss to the Twins.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 27: Brian Dozier #2 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates hitting a two-run home run as Derek Norris #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during the eighth inning of the game on May 27, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rays 5-3. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010973
  4. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  5. Fans in Florida and beyond won't forget Gregg Allman

    Music & Concerts

    The end can come quickly for those who live fast and live hard, who create worlds with their talent and sometimes come close to throwing them away.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)