City mulls alcohol sales at downtown plaza

December 4, 2018

HARLINGEN — Prohibition appears to be drying up at the city’s outdoor venues.

Last year, city commissioners approved an ordinance allowing the alcohol sales and consumption at nonprofit and city-sponsored events at four parks and two sports complexes.

Tomorrow, commissioners will consider the final reading of an ordinance allowing alcohol sales and consumption at Lozano Plaza, the pocket-park at the corner of Jackson Avenue and A Street.

Last month, commissioners approved the ordinance’s first reading.

“ I don’t see any problem with it — if it’s a specific event,” Bill DeBrooke, a downtown property owner and former longtime chairman of the city’s Downtown Improvement District. “We work hard to get people to use the downtown — to partner with the downtown.”

The city’s push to revise its ordinance comes as the city’s Rotary Clubs prepare to host their 25 th Annual Rotary Shrimp Fest along Jackson Street in February.

Meanwhile, organizers are planning a concert set for the downtown area next year, Assistant City Manager Gabriel Gonzalez said.

“ We have more and more events in the downtown area,” he said.

More than 10 years after its dedication, Lozano Plaza is turning into a main gathering place in the downtown area.

“ It’s wide-open space,” Gonzalez said. “A lot of food vendors will locate in the park. There’s a lot of traffic.”

Under the proposed ordinance, beer sales and consumption would be allowed at nonprofit and city-sponsored events.

“ This amendment would allow the sale of alcohol only if the event was sponsored or co-sponsored by the city of Harlingen and the participating entity was not a for profit organization,” Gonzalez wrote in the city’s executive summary.

Last year, commissioners approved an ordinance allowing alcohol sales and consumption at nonprofit and city-sponsored events at Dixieland Park, Victor Park, Pendleton Park, Rangerville Park, the Wilson Sports Complex and the Harlingen Soccer Complex.

City officials requested commissioners revise the ordinance because the alcohol ban led some organizations to move their events to other cities, Javier Mendez, the city’s parks director, said at the time.

The city already allowed the sale and consumption of alcohol at nonprofit and city-sponsored events at Lon C. Hill Park, McKelvey Park, Gutierrez Park and the HEB tennis courts at Pendleton Park.

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