After Bridgeville police cited two people for drinking in Triangle Park recently, a magistrate dismissed the charges. Her reasoning—there are no signs in the park that say drinking is prohibited.
At the same time, it has long been accepted practice for people renting pavilions at borough parks to bring kegs of beer to the graduation parties or retirement gatherings they’re hosting. This, despite a borough ordinance that explicitly prohibiting alcohol in parks.
Borough council debated the alcohol issue earlier this week after police chief Chad King pointed out several discrepancies between the Bridgeville’s written park ordinance and its real-life application, including the surprising revelation that dogs are permitted in borough parks despite posted signs saying otherwise.
“We might want to clean up the park ordinance a bit and decide what we want to do and how we want to do it,” King told council.
The lack of “no drinking” signs at Triangle Park is a relatively easy problem to resolve. A second, larger question is whether the borough should follow the example of some other communities and sell permits that allow alcohol consumption with park rentals.
Councilman Joe Colosimo, who oversees the parks and recreation committee, believes that Bridgeville should continue to prohibit drinking at Triangle Park. But offering alcohol permits for a small fee would be reasonable at Bridgeville’s other parks.
Selling such permits typically doesn’t create liability or insurance issues for municipalities, said borough solicitor Thomas McDermott.
Police chief King said that his department hasn’t run into many problems related to people drinking at social events in the parks.
Council will likely address the alcohol question, dog issue, and any other park ordinance dissonance “in one fell swoop,” said council president Michael Tolmer.