The Carol Stream Park District appears to be just a couple of steps away from allowing alcohol sales at the new Fountain View Recreation Center and during adult softball tournaments at McCaslin Park.
The park board discussed the proposal at its Monday meeting with the tenor of the discussion in support of the plan.
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Park board President Tim Powers said the park district staff will put together a new policy that will be reviewed at the next board meeting and likely voted on in November.
"This is a huge step for the Carol Stream Park District," Powers said. "We know that there is reticence from some areas of the community about the park district serving liquor, but I think we have taken steps to ensure that youth will not be involved if there is liquor being served. We've done our due diligence."
At McCaslin Park, in an unincorporated area at North Avenue and St. Charles Road, the park district has experimented with beer and wine sales during two adult 16-inch softball tournaments -- one last October and one this past July.
The park district in July voted to approve temporary sales at two additional tournaments Aug. 16-18 and Aug. 29-Sept. 2 as a test case for the new policy. Those were larger, national tournaments run by the Slow-Pitch Softball Association, and Powers noted the sales of beer and wine there went off without a hitch.
"We had no problems whatsoever," he said. "We made over $2,000 just for the weekend. That's one of the reasons for this, is to generate extra revenue for our facilities."
An outside caterer required to have its own liquor license and insurance has been used in the test cases, and is preferred going forward.
"Our intention is if you want liquor you have to go through one of our preapproved caterers," said Dave Haring, park district superintendent of recreation. "If you don't do that you cannot have liquor."
Haring said at the two test tournaments the rentals were required to provide security, and the procedure for rentals is for further dedicated staff to be present "for more eyes and ears."
Powers and board member John Jaszka both stated a desire for adult park district staff employees at these events to undergo alcohol servers training offered by the state.
"It would be a good idea for staff to be aware, to watch for any potential problems," Jaszka said.
Park district staffers in 2012 talked to three other communities that have allowed alcohol sales in its park districts without problems.
In Mount Prospect beer has been sold at the Majewski Athletic Complex since the mid-1980s when it started hosting national softball tournaments. In Crystal Lake, alcohol is served in a beer garden at the Boncosky Athletic Complex -- also home to many softball games.
Should the park district decide to allow alcohol service at parks within village limits, liquor licenses would be subject to the approval of the Carol Stream village board.
Park board Vice President Wynn Ullman recommended that two to three directors sign off on allowing alcohol sales at adult, private or special events, and notify the board in the short term.
"I think we should change the policy to allow alcohol," Ullman said. "The staff is more than capable of making the decisions without coming to us."