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Niagara Town Board debates allowing alcohol use for events at Veterans Memorial Park

TOWN OF NIAGARA – The Niagara Town Board is going to look at allowing the use of alcohol at outdoor events in Veterans Memorial Park this year.

Currently, beer and wine can be consumed in the community center but not in the park. Parties that reserve the center for events can petition the board to allow beer and wine consumption indoors.

On Monday, the board directed Town Attorney Michael B. Risman to research how the town could allow alcohol at any event in the park, including outdoor functions.

Councilman Danny W. Sklarski, who works for the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said that if someone wants to use alcohol in a state park, they must apply for a special permit that contains numerous conditions that outline the applicant’s responsibilities. He said he would bring in copies of the state alcohol-use permit for board members to review and consider.

During the discussion, it was suggested that vendors could be licensed to sell beer. But that suggestion was met by opposition from Councilman Marc M. Carpenter and Deputy Supervisor Charles F. Teixeira, who said they were against beer vendors and beer tents. Carpenter said the town “shouldn’t promote the sale of alcohol” in a town park.

In another matter, the board was briefed by Supervisor Lee S. Wallace on his proposal to implement strategic planning and a master plan for the board.

The supervisor said that the planning would include a mission statement: vision and goals for the board in a written document that would be reviewed and referred to on a regular basis. The planning would identify long-term objectives for the board, he said.

Some of the benefits would be to focus on constituent service, lower costs and maximizing opportunities for funding, Wallace said.

Under the master plan, the board would have established timelines and specific projects.

Wallace said the planning process is time-consuming and probably would take the board up to 12 months to finalize. He anticipated that it could be ready for approval in early 2016.

Wallace said he would return to the board with an outline.

“It makes it nice to know what we’re going to be doing instead of just having things thrown at us,” Councilman Rob Clark said.