WAUSEON - City Council has approved a policy for limited beer sales at Dorothy Biddle Park during adult softball tournaments, four of which already have been scheduled - with brewing-company sponsorships.
The policy forbids the sale or possession of alcoholic beverages in any city park except for softball tournaments at Biddle that are sponsored and supervised by the Wauseon Parks and Recreation Department.
Beer will be sold only by outside vendors selected by the parks department and approved by the Wauseon Parks Board, which will review all contracts before they may be finalized.
Beer is to be sold and consumed only within a designated, secure area at the park, set up under consultation with the city's police chief.
No outside beer will be allowed into the secure area, either, with signs posted to call attention to the rules and violators subject to dismissal from tournaments and ejection from the premises.
Those wishing to buy beer will have to present proper proof of age and will be issued wristbands. Sale proceeds will go to the Wauseon Recreation Association Inc. to use for facilities improvements or program operations.
City Council approved the establishment of such a policy in November, after Doug Kutzli, the organizer of a local adult men's softball team, said the Biddle Park complex could become a premier tournament venue in northwest Ohio attracting scores of players and their families to Wauseon - but only if beer sales were allowed.
Mayor Jerry Dehnbostel said the city must obtain a temporary liquor license for the park before beer sales can begin.
Any problems that arise with the policy, he said, can be resolved through amendments by council.
U.S. Specialty Sports Association Class "E" tournaments, qualifiers to its world or national tournaments, have been scheduled for four weekends this season, the first May 15 and 16.
Others are to be held June 12-13, July 10-11, and Aug. 7-8.
MillerCoors Brewing is a primary commercial sponsor for all four events.
Teams finishing in first place receive a paid bid to the higher-level tournament for which they qualify, while second-place teams receive the right to enter the higher tournament but must pay their own way.
Entry fees are $150 per team plus $20 per game to pay umpires.