For a few hours in July, the city is looking to allow having alcohol served and consumed on city property. Currently, alcohol consumption and sales are not permitted in any city park or building.
The city is permitting a 4 p.m. to dusk wine festival on Friday, July 13, that will allow serving and drinking of wine from five scheduled wineries including two Avon Lake wineries, and .
The ordinance earned support from most council members who saw the opportunity as a positive economic development move, but one councilman, Larry Meiners, opposed it at council’s May 29 meeting.
The event is one of three festivals supported by the Avon Lake Waterfront LLC, a private non-profit organization hoping the festivals will spur economic development.
“This will allow a one-day only permit for an eight to nine-hour period to allow wine in Avon Lake’s park,” Bucci said.
“It keeps the prohibition in place with that one exception,” Bucci said, noting the city did not want to open the door to alcohol in the parks.
Alcohol will not be allowed inside , the building that sits east in the park.
Restaurants will also be at the festival selling food. Seven restaurants are currently signed up.
"We want to get people to the lakefront and to get residents and those who live elsewhere to come here,” Bucci said. “It’ll be highly regulated."
Bucci said the alcohol would only be available in a cordoned off area. Wine will be served in 2-ounce cups and IDs will be checked. Bottles of wine will be available for purchase, but cannot be opened on the premises.
“This will be a fun and classy event,” Bucci said.
Councilman David Kos said Avon Lake Police Chief David Owad was at the Safety Committee meeting where the issue was discussed and “we addressed every possible scenario” and determined the risk for problems was low.
Councilman Larry Meiners, however, strenuously objected to allowing alcohol in the park.
Meiners sat on council eight years ago when an ordinance was passed prohibiting alcohol in the Lake House after extensive renovations on the home were complete. Alcohol is not currently permitted in any Avon Lake city park or building.
“I think if Avon Lake city council passes this it will destroy any public trust we have with the public,” Meiners said. “We’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fixing up those properties.
“We decided as a city council we wouldn’t have alcohol in Veterans Park,” Meiners said. “Now we have this holier than thou attitude it’s ok for the city to do something, but not the residents.”