St. Patrick’s Day drinking approved for local sidewalksDespite the objections of one alderman, the New Richmond City Council voted to allow the consumption of alcohol in front of several drinking establishments on March 17.
By: By Jeff Holmquist, New Richmond News
Despite the objections of one alderman, the New Richmond City Council voted to allow the consumption of alcohol in front of several drinking establishments on March 17.
The community’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade has always drawn a crowd to the downtown district. This year, several bars are looking to capitalize on the increased traffic by allowing patrons to purchase drinks and consume them while watching the parade.
The Shamrock Club, which hosts the parade and is located along Third Street, has always gained approval by the city to allow alcohol sales and consumption on the sidewalk and behind its building on parade day. This year several bars along Knowles Avenue want to do the same.
The difference is, however, that the sidewalks in front of Bobcat’s Bar & Grill and Sam’s Corner Bar & Grill sits on New Richmond’s main drag.
Council member Jane Hansen said she didn’t like the idea of allowing alcohol consumption along Knowles Avenue sidewalks.
“I think it looks tacky,” she explained.
She also noted that last year’s hugely successful parade was, in large part, due to the number of families that attended. By opening up the event to more public drinking opportunities, Hansen said some families may choose to stay away.
“I don’t think there’s a need for it,” she said.
The other members of the council were not opposed to the idea.
“This is something that’s done in just about every community out there,” Mayor Fred Horne said. “New Richmond is the only one that doesn’t allow it.”
City Clerk Tanya Reigel said the drinking establishments would need to clearly mark the “drinking areas” on the sidewalk in front of their buildings.
Lt. Jerry Cody with the New Richmond Police Department said business owners can only designate a portion of the sidewalk for such a purpose. He said people still need to be able to walk by the establishments.
“You can’t block it all off,” Cody said.
In the end, council member Craig Kittel suggested that the city allow alcohol to be consumed in front of the businesses from one hour prior to the Sunday, March 17, parade and until one hour after the parade. The motion was approved 5-1, with Hansen casting the lone no vote.
For the complete story, see this week's New Richmond News.