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Council bans drinking in Mayo Park

From staff reports

If you're thinking of packing a few beers into the picnic basket before heading out to Mayo Park, think again.

Reported problems with drunkenness in the park led to a Rochester City Council vote Monday to restrict drinking there.

The council voted 4-3 for the restriction. It will make a final vote on the matter next month.

City Administrator Steve Kvenvold said the park, near downtown, "has gotten to be a popular place with a group of people who hang out (drinking)."

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Intoxicated people have caused disruptions within the park and at nearby Mayo Civic Center, according to Police Chief Roger Peterson, in a memorandum to the council.

Council member Walter Stobaugh, who represents the area, said residents have complained to him about drinking in the park. The city can't arrest people for public intoxication or otherwise prevent drinking in city parks, he said.

"The police's hands are tied," Stobaugh said.

Council members voting against the restriction (Dennis Hanson, Mack Evans and David Senjem) contended the restriction unfairly punished responsible people consuming lesser amounts of alcohol, such as at a family picnic.

People who want to drink at Mayo Park will have to apply for a city permit. The park board will issue permits to groups and for events such as summer outdoor concerts.

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