There will be no alcohol sold at Thornapple Plaza entertainment events after a third request by Thornapple Arts Council Executive Director Council Megan Lavell was turned down by the Hastings City Council Monday.
Objections included constituents telling them they don’t like the idea, general disagreement for allowing alcohol, non-profits competing with local businesses, alcohol at a family friendly event, lack of barriers in the area where alcohol would be served and the children at events.
Councilman Don Bowers said his constituents are the ones he listens to and they don't want it. He noted an event already held drew 500 people without selling alcohol. Councilman Al Jarvis said his big issue was non-profits competing with local businesses that sell alcohol.
Councilwoman Brenda McNabb-Stange favored giving it a test with the one event Lavell had asked for. She said she was concerned by children being in the area where alcohol was being served, but said Lavell, “did a great job with that. It’s worth testing to see how it would go over.”
After the first request was denied, Lavell made several changes to answer the council member’s concerns, and was denied again. She was asked by Mayor Frank Campbell to talk to individual council members and come back for a third time.
In her presentation Monday, she said the entertainment acts were funded this year by the Baum Family Foundation, but that was for this year only. The TAC does not benefit from the entertainment. The alcohol serving area was moved farther away from where children would be, there would be a two drink limit in two hours, those over 21 would have wrist bands and hands stamped for each drink and all serving would be cut off at 8:30 p.m., a half hour before the end of the performance.
Lavell said the beer and wine sales is another tool in their marketing arsenal. A survey of 13 area municipalities showed that all but one allowed alcohol sales in public spaces, including Hastings. Charlotte was the only municipality that did not, she said.
The vote to deny the proposal was 5-3 with Councilman Don Smith absent. Council members Dave Tossava, Brenda McNabb-Stange and Campbell voted “yes.” Voting “no” were Council members Therese Maupin-Moore, Bill Redman, Al Jarvis, Bill Cusack and Don Bowers.