Longview, TX — Permitted alcohol use at Heritage Plaza was approved Thursday, but not without time constraints brought forth in a councilman’s surprise move.
City Council members voted 5-1 to allow alcohol sales and consumption at the downtown park. In another move, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board members will begin Monday a months-long process to set criteria for all Longview parks, after one resident suggested expanding alcohol use to Teague Park.
Don’t take a six-pack to the Heritage Plaza brown bag lunch series just yet. Organizers of the series and any event wishing to serve alcoholic beverages must obtain permits from the city and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
After 20 minutes of discussion in which it appeared, at times, that the ordinance would fail to get council approval, District 4 Councilman Wayne Frost introduced an amended ordinance that limited permitted alcohol use at Heritage Plaza to 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Assistant to the City Manager Mary Ann Miller said Frost asked city staff this past week to prepare a draft of his amendment, but officials with the Longview Chamber of Commerce, who recommended the Heritage Plaza change, said the amendment caught them off-guard.
Councilman John Sims, who earlier in the meeting said he would not support alcohol use at local parks, seconded Frost’s motion to approve the amended ordinance.
“I personally think we have enough drinking going on in Longview. I am against this,” Sims said about 15 minutes before voting for allowing alcohol use with scheduling limits. He did not explain why he changed his vote.
District 2 Councilman Daryl Williams was the lone vote against the measure, though he earlier had said it was unfair to the chamber officials to hold up the request.
Longview Chamber of Commerce and the Main Street Advisory Board recommended the idea to parks advisory board members two months ago. On Aug. 22, the parks board unanimously recommended the ordinance change to the City Council.
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