Friday Night Live Gets Expanded “Beer Garden”

July 8, 2008 at 9:01 pm Leave a comment

The Belmont City Council last night approved the request from the Downtown Merchants Association to expand the “beer garden” for Friday Night Live. The new area extends from the Caravan parking lot and Airline Avenue to include all of the street and sidewalk in front of Stowe Park.

As a result, the merchants association also approved a new cup size that will be available on July 11:

Friday Night Live organizer and Belmont Man About Town(BMAT), Vince Hill, explained to council that the real purpose of Friday Night Live is to provide five $500 scholarships for South Point HS students. After all the expenses of each event, the group clears about $200. The merchants association also sells t-shirts and accepts donations as a 501(c)3 organization.

Council members engaged Mr. Hill with ideas to help make more money. Former police chief Flowers suggested using a gambling scheme commonly known as a 50/50 to help. Mr. Hill countered with a request to have the city police donate their time to reduce the $375/event cost. Ron Foulk suggested that Mr. Hill and Chief David James, “get together and work out a plan”. After it was all said and done, the beer garden gets expanded to Mill Street and the sidewalk fronting Stowe Park. The merchants also decided later to increase the cup size – as noted in the photo above.

While this is all well and good – certainly should increase the crowd size and lower the age demographic for attendance – the police will have much more to patrol. We hope the discussion in the “work things out” plan notices that once on the sidewalk, the city ordinance against alcohol in the park will be severely tested. Even though no police-related incidents have occurred through eight previous Friday Night Live events, the group is inviting something to happen.

Funny how an event planned outside of government supervision now needs/wants taxpayer money to make money – for scholarships no less. City Council is quite proud that they could help – already covering the overtime for the public works personnel who provide cleanup after the event, and providing 5 off-duty policeman ($25/hr paid to the officers).

After all the brouhaha of last summer when the project was first proposed – “state road, can’t have alcohol in the street” and “program to increase downtown awareness and traffic outside of government sponsorship”, we now have a fun product offered by merchants who aren’t seeing the (rubbing fingers together motion) the dollar for dollar return.

How sad.

It’s a great event series. We hope it doesn’t get out of hand and hope that the purposes are clearly defined. Charlie Flowers even has a line item for the newly created Belmont Tourism Authority, $3000 allocation to the downtown merchants – talk about tax and spend.

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Entry filed under: Beer, Beer drinkers, Belmont, Belmont Front Porch, Belmont Police Department, Charlie Martin, Chief David James, Citizen of the Year, City Council, City of Belmont Police, Community, Destinations, Downtowns, Friday Night Live!, Life, News, Parks and Recreation, People, Safety, Sales Taxes, Small Town, South Point HS, Stowe Park, Things to Do, Tourism, Vince Hill.

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