ROCK FALLS – Despite some concerns from the council, the city adopted an ordinance Tuesday to clarify language for special event liquor licenses.
Prior to the change, alcohol wasn’t allowed on city property without special permission. With more special events being planned, especially at the RB&W District Park, the city wanted a new liquor ordinance on the books.
The city’s ordinance committee had discussed the new draft of the liquor ordinance Monday.
“This is the result of us consulting with our attorneys, the Illinois Liquor Commission, and other cities,” Mayor Bill Wescott said.
Wescott said the city discovered that the days of fencing in beer gardens are over, and the emphasis would be put on wristbands to control the beer and wine sales. No hard liquor will be sold on city property.
Alderman George Logan, chairman of the ordinance panel, said he still had some concerns.
“I have trepidation about the parks because I’m afraid it will make it easier to drink there,” Logan said.
While most of the parks are under the jurisdiction of the Coloma Township Park District, a few, such as the RB&W and Veterans Memorial parks, are owned by the city.
“We can’t override what happens at Coloma because that’s their property,” Wescott said. “This is just for special events, so it doesn’t make it easier to drink on any city property.”
Alderman Rod Kleckler was concerned that the mayor, who is the liquor commission, would hand out the special events licenses unilaterally. All of the special events liquor licenses, however, would be brought before the full council.
The police department seemed comfortable with the new special events ordinance, allaying fears that drinking in all parks could increase.
“The requirements regarding alcohol in the parks are already in place, so I don’t think it would make enforcement harder there,” Chief Tammy Nelson said.
The ordinance also accounts for another change in state liquor law. Anyone who sells or serves alcohol or even checks identification must complete the state’s Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training course. The certification is already required for businesses that serve alcohol.
After a closed session Tuesday, the council accepted the resignation of Tourism Director Janell Loos.
“Janell is seeking opportunities elsewhere and we wish her well,” City Administrator Robbin Blackert said.
Loos was named director of the new city department in July 2015, as the transition was made from the city’s former Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. She worked with Whiteside County Economic Development Director Gary Camarano to set up and manage the Northwest Illinois Film Office.
The council also unanimously approved the hiring of Beth Motsinger to fill a clerk position in the utilities office.