Ordinance may put a cork in drinking at Perry Square

There is a lot that happens in Perry Square...  Roar on the Shore, Celebrate Erie, Downtown 'Block' Parties... but it's what happens on a daily basis that is concerning police and prompting a change.  If you take a walk around Perry Square at any time during the day, you may notice it; loitering and drinking.  

Right now, there is no law against drinking alcoholic beverages in public parks, but the city wants to change that. Drinking alcohol at city parks and playgrounds could soon be outlawed in the city of Erie.  A new ordinance will go before Erie City Council this week laying the groundwork.  Erie City Solicitor, Greg Karle, tells us, "alcohol in the parks and playgrounds have become a quality of life issue and a public safety issue".

An amendment to the city's Park Ordinance is on City Council's agenda this week that would prohibit alcoholic beverages at city parks and playgrounds.  As we consider the number of events in this park that include alcohol, we wondered if this would have an effect.  Organizers say no; those events are city-permitted or city-sponsored, so if you have a permit; you don't have a problem.  

John Buchna of Erie Downtown Partnership says "most groups that do events in Perry Square; that is the process,  which is great... but this is a tool that allows us on a daily basis to help authorities make the community better, help the events, and overall aesthetics of the park".

Erie Police see this issue as long overdue.  Erie Police Department Chief, Don Dacus, tells us, "we are governed by the laws that are on the books. This will give us another tool in our toolbox that will give us the ability to remove people that we believe are not contributing in a positive way to the downtown area".

Erie Police are concerned with the downtown area and the problems that stem from drinking, particularly because of the amount of children and families that visit the parks, not to mention the safety of those who work downtown.  

The first reading of this ordinance will be heard Wednesday night at the Erie City Council Meeting at Erie City Hall.


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