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Proposal to allow beer in entire SF ballpark endorsed

SANTA FE, N.M. — A proposal to allow beer consumption in the entire seating and concession area at Fort Marcy Ballpark during Santa Fe Fuego games – instead of in just a fenced-in beer garden – was unanimously endorsed by the City Council’s Public Works Committee on Monday.

City Councilor Ron Trujillo, who is sponsoring the measure, said he had met with representatives of the Santa Fe Underage Drinking Prevention Alliance and agreed to include language stating best practices for alcohol sales that was taken from the original ordinance that allowed the Fuego to sell beer at their games.

“I have no problem with that. They’re good compromises,” he said after the meeting.

Additional language approved by the committee:

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• Requires a manager be present to ensure compliance.

• Requires signs be posted that provide information about the effects of alcohol abuse, that display names and phone numbers for organizations that provide free rides to intoxicated people, and remind fans that it is illegal to sell, serve or provide alcohol to minors and intoxicated people.

• Prohibits signs advertising alcohol or tobacco products.

• Limits the purchase to one alcoholic beverage at a time, though fans can buy up to three alcoholic beverages before the seventh inning of a game.

• Requires that alcoholic beverage cups be distinguishable from non-alcoholic beverage cups.

In addition, while the fence separating the existing beer garden from the rest of the grandstand will be removed, some additional fencing will need to be installed to enclose the entire area used by fans to conform with the city’s ordinance addressing outdoor sales of alcohol.

One thing that hasn’t been finalized is whether security needs to be present at Fuego games. Trujillo asked city attorney Alfred Walker to look into what the state mandates regarding security in places where alcoholic beverages are sold before the measure goes to the council’s Finance Committee.

Santa Fe currently has the most restrictive policy regarding beer sales of any of the eight teams that compete in the Pecos League, an adult semi-professional baseball league that brought a team to Santa Fe in 2012.

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Last year, the council approved beer sales, but they were limited to a designated area and people were required to stay in that area while consuming alcohol.

However, some fans complained that they couldn’t enjoy a beer at a game and sit with their children, since minors weren’t allowed in the designated area. They also complained that the fence separating them from the rest of the fans segregated them to an area that has become known as “beer jail.”

“I want people to know that this did not come from the Pecos League; it came from people who attend games who would like to sit with their families,” Trujillo said by way of introducing the amendments at Monday’s meeting.

Shelley Mann-Lev, chairperson for the Underage Drinking Prevention Alliance, said after the meeting that she was satisfied with the added amendments.

“We do need to remember that our city and state has a serious issue with alcohol abuse. Our hope is we continue to promote a community where alcohol is restricted to adults to enjoy in a low-risk area,” she said. “In 2012, the city council adopted a thoughtful approach to alcohol sales and we would like to see those best practices used wherever alcohol is sold or consumed.”

The proposed ordinance already passed the Public Safety Committee, a citizens advisory group, by unanimous vote July 16. It now goes to the Finance Committee for consideration at its meeting Aug. 5.

A public hearing before the City Council is slated for Sept. 11.

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