New ordinance permits sales at Dumas, Beaver Creek parks
“I don’t have a problem with it as long as people drink in moderation.” LARRY SLOCUM, BREC golfer
Wrapping up a thrice weekly golf session Wednesday at Dumas Memorial Golf Course in Baker, retiree Bobby Nethen said he doesn’t like the idea of alcohol being served or sold at some BREC facilities — a service set to begin Friday.
“This is supposed to be a family place, right,” Nethen, a teetotaler, said Wednesday.
One of Nethen’s golf partners, Larry Slocum, doesn’t drink alcohol, either, but he said he doesn’t have a problem with the looming sale of beer at the golf course.
“I don’t have a problem with it as long as people drink in moderation,” Slocum said.
As part of a city-parish ordinance passed in April, certain facilities of the East Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission will be allowed to sell or serve alcohol.
The new ordinance has eliminated the lengthy process that BREC had to undergo — seeking approval from the BREC Commission, the Metro Council and the East Baton Rouge Office of Alcohol Beverage Control — in order to serve or sell alcohol for individual events, BREC spokeswoman Cheryl Michelet said.
“For the most part, this will impact events and rentals. What it means is that when people come to us wanting to rent one of these facilities, we can immediately let them know if they can serve or sell alcohol at their event,” Michelet said Wednesday.
The new ordinance also allows two BREC golf courses — Dumas Memorial Golf Course in Baker and Beaver Creek in Zachary — to sell beer daily at their clubhouse restaurants. Alcohol is already sold at BREC’s Santa Maria Golf Course.
Michelet said the decision to sell alcohol at some BREC facilities under certain circumstances was two-fold: to raise revenues and to improve customer service.
Paul Kent, an East Feliciana Parish School Board member, says he likes the idea of BREC selling beer at golf courses.
“Beer sales will help subsidize the golf course, so I think it’s great,” Kent said outside the Beaver Creek Golf Course Clubhouse before teeing off Wednesday afternoon with four other golfers.
Alcohol at BREC’s other golf courses can be served at special events and tournaments.
Michelet said the beer sold at the clubhouses can be consumed there or on the golf course, but not on the driving range area or the rest of the park.
The new ordinance does not change BREC’s prohibition of alcohol consumption in its parks when not associated with a special event.
Metro Council member Tara Wicker abstained from the vote earlier this year approving the ordinance.
Wicker said she was hoping for a universal permit policy that would include nonprofit groups seeking to serve alcohol at special events.
Now that the new ordinance is in place, Wicker said, she hopes BREC succeeds in achieving its goals.
“It’s done. It’s passed. I hope everything works out for BREC and I hope the practice doesn’t have a negative impact on the communities with the facilities involved,” Wicker said.
“I thought BREC’s plan was very well thought out and they answered all our questions,” said Metro Council member Buddy Amoroso, a supporter of the measure. “I know underage drinking is a problem, but BREC is committed to protecting our youth.”
Because of the age of patrons associated with some BREC facilities, no alcohol will be allowed or permit requests approved for J.S. Clark Park Golf Course, Liberty Lagoon Water Park and all swimming pools and the Perkins Road Community Park Extreme Sports Complex.
For more information about BREC’s alcohol policy, visit http://www.brec.org/alcoholpolicy.