The Flagstaff City Council will take another look at an ordinance tonight designed to curb the drinking of alcohol in Bushmaster or Ponderosa parks.
Both are plagued with problems associated with public drinking.
The ordinance stalled several months ago when questions arose over whether requiring permits to drink wine and beer in city parks would curb alcohol consumption by transients or simply move them to other areas of the city.
Currently, it is legal to drink beer -- but not hard alcohol -- in most city parks.
A slim majority of the council favored imposing new restrictions on areas where drinking beer and wine has been a problem rather than extending them to all city parks.
For example, beer is consumed legally in Thorpe Park during softball games. This particular activity is not considered a problem by nearby residents or the Flagstaff Police Department.
But those favoring a citywide requirement for such permits contend street alcoholics will simply move out of Bushmaster or Ponderosa parks and go into smaller "pocket parks" in nearby neighborhoods if the limited ordinance is approved.
Bushmaster is located in lower Greenlaw off Lockett Road. Ponderosa is in Sunnyside near Killip School.
A city staff report recommends the city require the free beer and wine permits for only those two city parks.
Currently, possession of alcohol is not illegal in Bushmaster and Ponderosa parks.
If approved, the police department as well as the parks and recreation division would issue free beer and wine permits on an advance reservation basis.
The permits are not the same as liquor licenses for businesses, issued by the state liquor board.
Police Chief Brent Cooper said that although the city has the right to deny permits to individuals, the reasons to say "no" will be fairly limited.
Those who reserved the parks for picnics, barbecues and other group events will be issued a permit.
The city has had several false starts in addressing public drinking in city parks in the last few years. A similar citywide ordinance got an initial reading in 2006 but it was never brought back for final approval. All city ordinances need two readings before they can become law.
The city's parks and recreation commission also discussed similar ordinances 2001, 2005, 2009 and earlier this year.
One of the only initial costs of the ordinance to the city, if approved, would be the printing of signs for $1,540.
Joe Ferguson can be reached at 556-2253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor's Note: This report has been corrected from its original version.