The Riverton City Council unanimously approved a request by the Riverton Chamber of Commerce for an open container permit on Tuesday. However, after public concerns, the council is planning to meet again to re-discuss the issue next week.
The requested permit was for the “Alive at Five” event on Friday, May 24th. The event includes live music from roughly 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., food trucks, and a beer garden.
Additionally, on the same evening, the Riverton Splash Pad is set for its grand opening also at City Park. A ribbon cutting and opening celebration is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Members of the City Council noted that Riverton Police Department Chief, Eric Murphy, raised concerns with the idea of allowing for an open container permit near a child-friendly event. They also noted that RPD had recently begun to address many alcohol-related issues at City Park specifically.
Riverton Chamber of Commerce Director Jim Davis described to the council and Mayor Gard that the beer garden area would likely be in a, “sectioned off area from the rest of the crowd.” He noted there would be a two-drink maximum per person. Patrons would purchase a token or a wrist band, which they could exchange for a beer.
City Councilman Tim Hancock announced some hesitation to having an event with alcohol at the park, but concluded he supported it, because “any way we can make use of City Park, we should.”
Councilman Cory Rota voiced his support by saying, “I think that it’s important that children are able to see how you are able to responsibly handle alcohol. When I take my kids to the zoo, you can buy beer there. I understand the concern, but I think it’s important that we demonstrate responsible usage of beer. I don’t think it should be a big problem.” Rota noted that alcohol is also served at Riverton events like the demolition derby and county fair, where children are also present.
Mayor Gard agreed with Rota saying, “I really don’t think we’ll have a problem, especially with the people in charge. I think the evening activities are for adults and adult beverages are appropriate. I think there’s really good reason to allow people to come and have a drink if they choose, in moderation.” Gard did mention his respect for Riverton Police Chief Eric Murphy and the efforts that the Riverton Police Department had made saying the park, “looks great.”
The permit is for the time period between 4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Davis explained that it’s very likely beer sales would not begin until closer to 6:00 p.m. and that the open container permit began at 4:00 p.m. to allow time for the vendors to set up. The permit is only for beer and no other type of alcohol.
Council members Karla Borders, Tim Hancock, Kyle Larson, and Cory Rota along with Mayor Rich Gard voted unanimously in favor of allowing the permit. Councilman Mike Bailey and Councilwoman Rebecca Schatza were not in attendance.
According to Councilman Cory Rota, members of the public have voiced concern with the decision this week. Thus, the council has called a special session to re-open the proposed open container permit. The council will meet and discuss the issue again on Tuesday, May 14th at 7:00 p.m.
All City Council meetings are open to the public, seating is limited. Council meetings are also broadcast on local cable channel 191.
The full meeting from Tuesday can be viewed in the player below.