Alcohol ban does not enthuse Douglass Park regulars

An empty vodka bottle lies discarded in Douglass Park Sunday afternoon. Regulars say an alcohol ban would make no difference at the park.

Guests at Douglass Park said Sunday they thought a proposed alcohol ban for the park was a bad idea born of negative stereotypes.

Albert Butler called the proposal â??a stupid idea,â?? saying the park is meant for the whole community. He pointed out the playground and water park, noting those areas were well away from areas where adults at the park tend to drink.

Current city ordinances ban alcohol in Paquin, Flat Branch and Village Square parks but make no mention of any other parks in the city. Alcohol can be served in those parks with a proper permit. First Ward Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick has proposed banning alcohol from Douglass Park as well. Chadwick did not return calls seeking comment on Sunday, but in an interview with the Columbia Tribune, she said health and safety were her primary concerns and such a ban might be extended to all city parks. The city maintains a total of 70 parks including 31 neighborhood parks.

Derrick Barney said he thought the park should be a place for everyone to come out and have a good time as long as they were not hurting anyone.

â??I donâ??t see nothing wrong with drinking as long as you keep some standard,â?? he said. â??I want to see people out here having fun every day.â??

Barney said he thinks Douglass Park gets too much negative press, noting the programs available for children such as softball and baseball leagues. He, like Butler, said the park should be a resource for everyone.

Shannon Lucas disagreed. She said safety concerns keep her from taking her daughter to the park regularly.

â??You donâ??t need to be in a public park, drinking, with kids,â?? she said.