Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Your Local Park Should Sell Beer and Wine on Nice Summer Nights

Summer Jazz in the Sculpture GardenWhy don't more communites encourage park use & raise revenue by letting people buy a drink at parks on select days?

There are plenty of successful examples like Washington's National Sculpture Garden's wildly popular Jazz Fridays. Now Philadelphia is looking to expand its experiment with letting food trucks sell drinks at parks:
The city wants to schedule 12 to 18 consecutive weeks from June through October.

The venues identified include Aviator Park/Logan Square; Paine’s Park (Franklin’s Paine Skatepark); Schuylkill Banks (between Walnut & Market); Water Works / Lloyd Hall, lawn area between the two along the Schuylkill; Lemon Hill Mansion (park also available if desired); Playing Angels (Kelly Drive); Sedgley Woods Disc Golf Course; Mount Pleasant; Clark Park; Belmont Plateau; Japanese House & Gardens (Shofuso); Horticulture Center; Smith Memorial Arch/Whispering Wall; FDR Park; Jefferson Square Park; Hawthorne Park; Penn Treaty Park; and Powers Park.

Applicants must have a minimum of three years of experience operating a successful food and beverage venue that is currently in business and must hold a current Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board liquor license in good standing and be capable of securing a PLCB Off-Premises Catering Permit.
There are some obvious, common-sense limitations you want to follow: You wouldn't want to do this in troubled neighborhoods and you don't want to serve drinks long enough or late enough to cause problems.

I've lived in many places and the park closest to me is rarely the one I've used the most. I usually go to destination parks - the ones with the best trails, best basketball courts, or best views. The closest park is usually a barren patch of grass that I walk briskly past to a more fun place.

But there's no reason you can't take a bland park and cheaply & easily encourage its use. Summer movie nights in the park are a staple across America, and some communities like my own Fairhaven offer things like yoga in the park.

Why not also encourage people to picnic by selling wine & beer? If you're feeling really Big Governmenty, you could even pay a local band a couple of hundred bucks to play some music.
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