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Council votes to allow alcohol at private event on city property

After some debate, the Sunnyside City Council voted 5-2 to allow the Tri-Chamber Social to be held at Centennial Square on Thursday, Oct. 4, despite the inclusion of alcohol being served at the event.

The item had been placed in the consent agenda and was originally pulled for further discussion by Councilman Craig Hicks, who wanted to know if the Chamber of Commerce had security planned for the event.

Discussion then started on whether or not alcohol should be allowed to be served on public property under city ordinances. Mayor Mike Farmer said the council had been specific on not allowing alcohol at the community center.

"If we allow it one place on city property, it pretty much opens the door to any city property," he said.

Interim City Manager Frank Sweet said it was allowed with a banquet permit and he was not aware that alcohol had been prohibited specifically by the city in public areas.

"I think it's been a long time in coming that we have responsible alcohol service," said Councilwoman Theresa Hancock. "The community center is a perfect example. We could rent that out to the hospital, which has been going to Grandview and Prosser and other places doing their functions."

Councilman Nick Paulakis said he couldn't support allowing alcohol in the park.

Deputy Mayor Don Vlieger said the Tri-Chamber Social is exactly the sort of function Centennial Square was built for and he supported allowing alcohol.

Farmer expressed concern that permission had also been given for the event and voted against allowing alcohol would disrupt plans. Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Pam Turner said plans had not been finalized.

Councilman Jim Restucci asked that the council approve this event and then forward the issue to parks and recreation to discuss further whether alcohol will be allowed in public parks in the future.

Voting against allowing the alcohol for the Tri-Chamber event were Farmer and Paulakis.

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