Foes of binge drinking successfully killed a proposed fan-deck expansion at Carson Park from the Eau Claire Express (summer collegiate; Northwoods League).
The proposed fan decks in the Carson Park grandstand — one on each side — would have served small groups, complete with seating and bar rails (as shown in the rendering above). Binge-drinking opponents said the ready accessibility to beer (though, we’re guessing, not of the all-you-care-to-drink variety) would, well, encourage binge drinking. And their opposition led first to a lukewarm recommendation of the plan from the Waterways and Parks Commission and opposition from City Council members — enough opposition that the proposed decks would have been rejected by the full council had the Express withdrawn the proposal. From the Eau Claire Lesder-Telegram:
Critics argued Monday night that fan deck policies of allowing patrons free refills on beer encourages binge drinking.
“I’m not anti-alcohol. This isn’t what this is all about,” said Dave Hoban, an instructor of alcohol and other drug abuse counselors at Chippewa Valley Technical College. “My concern comes to when we kind of cross that line and get into what’s commonly referred to as binge drinking, when you start to get into high-risk behavior choices when it comes to alcohol.”
Rowlett defended Express serving practices of checking IDs, using wristbands to identify people old enough to drink alcohol and refusing to serve people who are drunk.
Of course, there are some really simple solutions to the issue: the simplest would be limiting patrons of these group areas to three beers/malt beverages/sodas and issue wristband with drink tickets. These small areas won’t be set up for massive beer consumption, anyway: they’re set up for those who wants to watch the game as a group.
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