The Springfield City Council has approved an amendment in City Code removing the restriction of alcohol in public parks, clearing the way for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board to move forward with a proposal allowing limited alcohol sale and consumption in nine locations.
Alcohol remains prohibited in all but nine of 104 parks locations, following a new park regulation adopted by the Park Board in a publicly posted meeting just prior to the City Council vote. The Park Board continues to prohibit alcohol at youth sports events, family-themed events, neighborhood parks, playgrounds, pools and picnic pavilions (except permitted events in pavilions at Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center and Gardens.)
The permitted locations are:
- Rivercut Golf Course
- Horton Smith Golf Course
- Bill & Payne Stewart Golf Course, excluding Betty Allison at Oscar Blom Course
- Mediacom Ice Park, only during college, semi-pro and professional events and private rentals, only in designated areas
- Cooper Tennis Complex, only during college, semi-pro and professional events and private rentals, only in designated areas
- Dickerson Park Zoo, only during after-hours events, only in designated areas
- Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center and Gardens, only for special events and private rentals, only in designated areas
- Lake Springfield Boathouse, only for special events and private rentals, only in designated areas
- Davis House and Property, only for special events and private rentals, only in designated areas
The Park Board will implement alcohol sales through the Parks Concessions and Catering Division at the three golf courses by April, Cooper Tennis Complex by July and Mediacom Ice Park by September.
Private caterers will manage alcohol licensing and sales at events at Dickerson Park Zoo, the Botanical Center and Gardens, Lake Springfield Boathouse or the Davis House and Property. All events and private rentals at these locations will require an event permit as well as liability insurance and security. Implementation at these locations is expected by July.
The amendment request followed 15 months of intensive study and discussion, involving members of the Park Board and administrative staff. Together, they concluded the change in City Code would allow the Park Board to:
- Respond to demand from parks patrons, partner groups, event organizers, tournament directors and sponsors.
- Reinvest in parks and golf facilities and continue growing a parks reserve fund with a new source of user-generated revenue.
- Remain marketable compared with other public golf courses, sports complexes and event venues throughout the region and state, especially for tournaments, fundraisers, weddings and other rentals, while also remaining affordable for park patrons.
The Park Board unanimously approved a motion to seeking amendment of City Code Section 78-4 during its Sept. 8, 2017, Board Meeting.
Prior to tonight’s vote, events on City property at Park Central Square, Commercial Street, Ozark Empire Fairgrounds, Springfield Art Museum, Springfield Expo Center, The Trolley Bike and ArtsFest already allowed alcohol. Other Springfield facilities allowing alcohol include Hammons Field, JQH Arena, O’Reilly Family Event Center, Juanita K Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts, Springfield-Branson National Airport and select movie theaters and performing arts venues.
A recent survey of the 25 largest city or county Parks and Recreation departments in Missouri showed all but two, Springfield and Sedalia, permitted alcohol in some capacity (92 percent.) A similar survey of Missouri’s public regulation 18-hole golf courses shows 145 of 151 courses (96 percent) sell or allow alcohol. Of the six courses abstaining, three were operated by the Park Board.
For more information, contact Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, at 417-874-2943 (office) or 417-224-5510 (mobile) or email Jenny Edwards.