Politics & Government

Wichita makes it easier for groups to throw events with alcohol in city parks

The city council will no longer have to approve exemptions in the law for every margarita event planned for a city park.
The city council will no longer have to approve exemptions in the law for every margarita event planned for a city park.

Groups wanting to put on events in Wichita parks that include alcohol will now have an easier time getting approval from the city.

On Tuesday morning, the Wichita City Council unanimously approved an amendment to city code that will automatically grant groups exemptions to the state statute and city ordinance prohibiting alcohol in city parks as long as they’ve obtained a council-approved permit and the event meets certain conditions.

The change keep the council from having to approve exceptions to the law every time a request is made.

Under the previous code, 3.2 % beer and 6 % alcohol was allowed in some, but not all, parks. If event organizers wanted to serve any other type of alcohol, they had to seek an exemption to the law each time. And since the rules were already inconsistent in the different parks, the process was confusing and took time, park officials told the council.

The change will affect events like the Wichita Margarita Madness 5K, a race and party that was staged at South Lakes Park in June, Gentry Thiesen with the Park & Recreation department told the council.

The same process is already in place for five downtown-area parks as well as all open public property in the downtown area.

“I think this is a great step in the right direction,” said council member Brandon Johnson during the meeting. “I think this can activate a lot of our parks that are maybe a little underutilized now.”

Denise Neil has covered restaurants and entertainment since 1997. Her Dining with Denise Facebook page is the go-to place for diners to get information about local restaurants. She’s a regular judge at local food competitions and speaks to groups all over Wichita about dining.
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