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Alcoholic beverages to be allowed at some events at Springfield barn

April 13, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS

WILLIAMSPORT -- The Williamsport Town Council has passed an emergency ordinance that opens the door for alcoholic beverages to be served at events in Springfield Farm Barn with prior approval from the council.

The measure, approved Monday, allows the council to grant exceptions to a rule prohibiting consumption of alcohol in public parks and associated buildings, including the barn.

Williamsport Mayor James G. McCleaf II said the exceptions would be granted for individual events on a case-by-case basis through resolutions by the council.

The first such resolution was passed Monday to allow wine tasting as part of an open house fundraiser the town plans to hold in the barn May 16. The town has already obtained a one-day liquor license for the event, which is being held to raise money for additional improvements to the barn, Councilman Timothy W. Fraker said.

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McCleaf said he wanted to make it very clear that the measure was not intended to allow "beer bashes in the park," but to allow weddings and other functions to serve champagne and wine in a controlled environment. Town employees will be on hand at the events to protect the town's assets, he said.

Councilwoman Tearza D. Knode said the town was only interested in granting exceptions for events in the barn and the area about 50 feet around it and not for anywhere else in the park.

The town has restored the historic barn on Springfield Lane and has begun offering it for rent for weddings and other events, McCleaf said. Six weddings are booked in the barn, he said.

"I was amazed that right now, weddings in barns are very popular," Fraker said. "The more rustic they are, the better they like it."

The barn has been equipped with sprinklers, emergency doors and other features required for it to be used for events, council members said. Some remaining improvements the town hopes to make include an electrical upgrade and the installation of a railing around the stage.

Councilwoman Joan E. Knode said Washington County Hospital had booked the barn for a hoedown-themed employee picnic.

Town-hosted dances and movie nights in the barn have been popular. The next such event, an American Bandstand dance, is planned for April 24 from 7 to 11 p.m. Tickets to that event will be sold at the door for $1 each.

Both the emergency ordinance and the resolution passed unanimously.

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