Fort Wayne Parks board hears about proposed parks alcohol policy changes

The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department board of park commissioners plans to vote next month on a proposal to allow consumption of alcoholic beverages at golf outings and tourneys on city park golf courses. (News-Sentinel file photo)

More details about proposed changes in the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department’s alcohol consumption policy emerged during the board of park commissioners’ meeting today at Citizens Square.

Here are the highlights from Chuck Reddinger, parks department deputy director of recreation:

• While current policy allows alcoholic beverages to be served at dozen parks department locations, such as Headwaters Park and Foellinger Outdoor Theatre, the policy limits alcoholic beverages at city golf courses to beer and wine only at a pavilion on the Foster Park Golf Course. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited on the Foster Park golf course and at golf courses at McMillen and Shoaff parks.

• If the proposed changes are approved, alcohol would be allowed for participants in organized golf outings and tournaments at city golf courses at Foster Park, McMillen Park and Shoaff Park. Members of the general public who are golfing on their own still would be prohibited from consuming alcoholic beverages.

• For approved golf outings and tournaments, alcoholic beverages could be consumed at clubhouses and on the golf courses.

• The proposed policy changes also would expand the areas where alcohol can be served at events at Salomon Farm Park to include the park Learning Center, two small barns and the Salomon Farm homestead. Currently, alcohol can be served only in the park’s old barn and a tent outside it.

• The proposed changes also would allow alcohol to be served at Promenade Park and the Fort Wayne Park Foundation Pavilion in the park.

• For any golf outing or rental event, the organizer of the event must first get Indiana State Excise Police permission to serve alcohol at the event and must use licensed bartenders to do so.

Park board members decided they would consider the proposed changes and vote on them at their meeting at 10 a.m. June 14 so they can be put in place more quickly at parks department golf courses. Meetings typically take place in Room 30 at Citizens Square.

People who want to comment on the proposed alcohol policy changes can contact park board members in advance or attend the meeting and speak during the public input time at the end of the meeting.

The parks department proposed the change at golf courses because many organizers of golf outings and tournaments expect that participants will be able to consume alcoholic beverages during the event, Reddinger said. City parks golf courses have lost some golf outing and tournament business because players currently can’t consume alcohol on the course, he added.

In other business, the park board:

• Learned Foellinger Outdoor Theatre is conducting a pilot test for using Etix, an online ticket-selling service that is a less-expensive alternative to Ticketmaster, said Mitch Sheppard, deputy director of community outreach, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory and Foellinger Outdoor Theatre.

Etix also is better designed for concert ticket sales than the theater’s current system, which is designed for people registering for parks department programs, Sheppard said after the meeting.

The test involves only the Modest Mouse concert announced Tuesday, which will take place Sept. 21 at Foellinger Theatre.

People can purchase tickets to the concert on Etix and either print out a copy of the ticket to use for admission or download the ticket to use on their smartphone for admission, Sheppard said.

Tickets for the Modest Mouse show, which are $29, $49 and $59 per person, also will be available in person at the parks department office, 705 E. State Blvd., and Wooden Nickel Records, 3627 N. Clinton St., and by phone via Etix at 1-800-514-3849.

Service fees for using Etix will be $3.50 per ticket for online orders, $2.25 per ticket for purchase at Wooden Nickel, 25 cents per ticket for buying at the parks department office or Foellinger Theatre, and $8.50 per ticket for phone orders, plus postage if needed.

If the Etix system works well, the parks department will consider expanding its use to other shows next year, Sheppard said.

• Learned work on Phase I of the downtown riverfront development is progressing as planned. Phase I is scheduled to open in spring 2019. The pavilion should be completed before the rest of the park, but the parks department plans to wait to open the pavilion until all of Promenade Park is completed.

A committee of city and parks staff have narrowed the list of design teams for Phases II and III of riverfront development to a favorite out of 14 applicants, and they are in hiring negotiations with that team, said Alec Johnson, deputy director of planning and development.

• Learned the Mother’s Day Plant Sale last week raised about $78,000 for Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, and the parks department greenhouses provided 18,400 plants for the annual School Children’s Flower and Vegetable Association program.