Make us your home page

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 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

  1. Pinellas licensing board loses support for staying independent

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board on Monday lost its strongest supporter for staying independent.

    State Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican running for governor, said Monday that he will no longer support any legislation to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board independent. This photo was taken in August. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Rays' Blake Snell erasing memories of his poor start

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — As Blake Snell strides up the mound at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night with an 10-game unbeaten streak, doesn't the miserable start to his sophomore season, when he was winless in eight starts and got demoted to Triple-A, seem like a long time ago?

    To him, too.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) in the dugout during the fourth inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times

  3. St. Petersburg youth baseball concession stand vandalized

    Public Safety

    ST. PETERSBURG — The early-morning phone call warned Charles Castle, president of Burg Baseball, to "expect the worst.'' The organization's concession stand had been vandalized.

     Cliff Williams, Vice President of the Burg Baseball Inc., St. Petersburg, looks at a damaged and trashed concession stand at the Lakewood Baseball Complex, home of the Burg Baseball. According to Williams someone vandalized the concession stand either Saturday or Sunday. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

  4. Tampa charter school teacher charged with firing handgun at ground


    TAMPA — A Tampa charter school teacher was arrested Sunday after she fired a gun into the ground during a dispute with her boyfriend, police said.

    Melody Patrice Bing, a teacher at the Village of Excellence Academy in Tampa, emerged from her home holding a weapon and dropped it when police confronted her at gunpoint. [Tampa Police Department]
  5. Tuesday's Nothing More concert moved from the State Theatre to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg


    Nothing More was one of the highlights of April's 98 Rockfest, a thoroughly entertaining rock outfit with a larger-than-live stage presence.

    Nothing More performed at 98 Rockfest 2017 in Tampa.