A 5K and neighborhood gathering prompt questions during City Council meeting
Even fun has to be questioned sometimes.
That’s how City Councilman Bob Bialkowski felt during council’s conference meeting Monday. The group was reviewing several event applications, and a couple of them — GLOW Corporate Cup and Venue Entertainment — stopped the flow of approvals.
Were they going to sell or provide alcohol at these events? Would participants be allowed to walk around outside with alcohol? Bialkowski, who is a councilman-at-large, just wanted to confirm the details, he said.
“I just want to make sure we're following the law and will not have any confusion, because, you know it can happen. In a way the law is threatening ‘you need an exemption,’ so it's not allowed on any municipal property period,” he said to The Batavian after the meeting at City Hall. “And the other one at South Swan, I just had some concerns because of what’s served at the event. And it's kind of ambiguous. A lot of times if you communicate things ahead of time and you have it all laid out, it's crystal clear, there's no problems.”
GLOW Corporate Cup is a yearly 5K event with several organizations that bring their own tents, food and beverages for an “afterglow” party once the race is over. It has been set for August 4 this year at Centennial Park in Batavia. Bialkowski said that he hasn’t heard anything negative about the event, especially in relation to drinking alcohol, but he wanted to know the parameters.
City Council President Eugene Jankowski emphasized that the event sponsor does not provide any alcohol (or other beverages or food), and that it’s up to each organization to bring, use and monitor what’s being supplied for its group participants.
Venue Entertainment requested to have a community block party on August 6 on South Swan Street in Batavia. The party is to run from 2 to 10 p.m. with a DJ, bands, face-painting, basket raffles, a bounce house, tents, a T-shirt sale and food vendors. An asterisk on the application indicates that alcohol will be available for purchase through Polish Falcons, which prompted Bialkowski to question the use and sale of alcohol during the event. He asked where alcohol would be consumed and whether it was likely that attendees may be walking around the neighborhood with alcoholic beverages in hand.
Can the city control the use of alcohol during an event, Bialkowski said.
“I don't think we can. We can't prevent someone from gathering in a public place and having a picnic. We're just trying to assist so that there is no confusion or maybe double booking or something like that," Council President Eugene Jankowski said. “I know they’re closing the street off. I was wondering how they were going to pull this thing off. We want to know so we don’t have a lot of chaos … “We want to make sure they have a safe, fun time. We want it to be successful.”
Council members discussed the event itself, with four barricades in the neighborhood parkway near Polish Falcons on Swan Street. Councilman John Canale noted that the application asks questions pertaining to serving, providing and/or selling alcohol at the event. There is also a clause asking for the name of who will apply to the State Liquor Authority for a permit to sell alcohol.
That’s not applicable in this instance, Canale said.
“That falls under the Polish Falcons license to sell,” he said. “If Polish Falcons are selling it, they will be selling it out of the bar downstairs.
While discussing the GLOW 5K event, Jankowski referred the matter to City Attorney George Van Nest. Jankowski was “under the impression that if someone wanted to have a picnic, they could drink any beverages they want,” he said.
“I think you’re generally right, Council President. I would defer to the chief for any violations that may come up during the park usage. But generally speaking, as it relates to event applications, if there's a specific event in a downtown space, there might be a request for Dram Shop insurance as well,” Van Nest said. “But I would defer to the clerk as well, this event has happened in the past and there hasn’t been an issue with it. And it seems to be on par with other events that happened throughout the community.”
Dram shop insurance — dubbed after the age-old phrase used for bars and restaurants that serve alcohol — is a liability insurance plan designed to protect alcohol-serving businesses from the risks associated with their industry, according to insurance canopy.com.
City Council agreed to move along the requests, accompanied by requests for the annual Kiwanis 5K, fireworks at two Muckdogs’ games on June 4 and 18, Jackson Square concerts on Thursday and Friday evenings throughout the summer, Blue Pearl Yoga in the Park, HCR Home Care's ribbon-cutting on June 8, an official naming ceremony for the David McCarthy Ice Arena for June 3, a homeowner’s workshop for July 23 in the City Centre concourse and a chicken barbecue for June 4.
Top photo: City Councilman Bob Bialkowski questions the use of alcohol during council's review of event applications Monday at City Hall. Photo by Joanne Beck.