Article Comment 

City amends alcohol ordinance


Devin Golden



It came down to a tie, and Mayor Robert Smith broke it with a favorable vote. 


The Columbus City Council voted 4-3 to approve an amendment to the alcohol ordinance that allows the sale of alcoholic beverages other than beer at certain events at Riverside Park. 


Councilmen Gene Taylor, Kabir Karriem and Fred Stewart voted in favor of the ordinance amendment. Councilmen Joseph Mickens, Charlie Box and Bill Gavin voted against it. Smith, who serves as a tiebreaker on the council, voted in favor. Taylor made the motion and Stewart gave the second to bring it to a vote. 


City Attorney Jeff Turnage outlined the ordinance, saying it would allow the sale of alcoholic beverages other than beer "one time per year" during a non-profit organization's event as long as the organization can submit a certificate of insurance no less than $1 million per occurrence to the city. 


The ordinance now reads, "The mayor and city council may allow the sale of beer, light wine and 'alcoholic beverages as defined in Section 67-1-5 of the Mississippi Code, as may be amended from time to time, within specific locations within Riverside Park for specified and limited times in the event of non-profit events, but same shall not exceed per applicant more than one event in any 12-month period. 'Riverside Park' means that location near the trail head for the Columbus-Lowndes County Riverwalk, located beneath the bridge over the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway." 


Turnage specifically mentioned the Legends concert, which took place Oct. 8-9, as an event that the amendment could affect. 


Box expressed his stance against the motion, saying that "before long, we won't have any control over (the ordinance) at all." 


"We would change this for one festival a year and another festival a year," Box said. "Before long, we won't have any control over the ordinance at all." 


Gavin asked if the amendment restricted the sale of alcoholic beverages other than beer to just Riverside Park and only once a year, and Turnage said it's possible to have more than one event where hard liquor is sold. 


"You can have more than one non-profit hold a festival per year, but not the same non-profit," Turnage said. 


Even though the ordinance only says "sale," Turnage also said the ordinance allows the possession of these alcoholic drinks during the specific events. 


Karriem said via telephone interview that he thinks the city should not restrict organizations if it has an alcohol permit and proper documentation to sell alcoholic beverages during events. 


"I was glad the ordinance came across because it helps and puts some type of guideline in place for those who possibly want to have alcohol at their functions at the Riverwalk," Karriem said. 


Attempts to get in touch with Smith regarding why he voted in favor of the motion were unsuccessful.




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Reader Comments

Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 10/20/2011 5:48:00 AM:

Whooopppiiieeeeeee, lets hear it for the sweet deal swung for the local booze merchants.

Nothing to see here folks, move along. Now ya'll drive responsibly, ya hear?


Article Comment zenreaper commented at 10/20/2011 3:43:00 PM:

How about "Whoopie, the CITIZENS of the TOWN can actually do something that is PERFECTLY LEGAL, in the PARK they PAY for."

As for DRIVING< well, just because SOME people are stupid and drink and drive, is NO reason to stop the REST of us from consuming a perfectly legal beverage in a park we PAY for regularly.


Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 10/21/2011 8:50:00 AM:

Unless you walked from your home, or had someone who did not drink at all haul your backside there, if you drank, you were drinking and driving.

Now you can make all the excuses you want about how good you can drive with a few drinks, and all that other nonsense people tell themselves to excuse themselves from having to admit they are subjecting others on the road to their lack of sound judgement, but I'm not buying it.

You don't have to be legally drunk behind the wheel to be impaired, and paying for a park does not give you any legal rights to drive from it with whatever level of "buzz" you may have going.


Article Comment keep it real commented at 10/21/2011 9:13:00 AM:

I hate to call it stupidity, but I don't think there is another word! Zen didn't say anything about it being ok to drive drunk. What's the difference between people enjoying these types of beverages at a function in the park and people consuming in a club or bar? People should consider their mode of transportation in both instances. I hope you aren't somehow inferring that drunk drivers are more likely to come from an event in the park than a local club or bar. Because that would just be....well.....stupid!


Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 10/22/2011 5:48:00 AM:

No stupid, I'm inferring that if you attend anything and drink, regardless of how little, and then drive, you are driving impaired. You might not be legally drunk behind the wheel, but you don't have to be to get someone, or yourself, killed.

Alcohol impairs one's motor skills (and no moron, I don't mean car motor) and this impairment begins with the first drink.

Now, as I said, unless you have a stone cold sober person driving you home, or you walk home from the river, then if you drank there, and leave in a motor vehicle of any kind, you are driving impaired.

Got that stupid?


Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 10/22/2011 2:52:00 PM:

Hey Peter, your pay or no play thingy isn't working on me. Nannner nanner boo boo.


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