OUR VIEW

To drink, or not to drink that is the question. Well, to be more accurate, to allow Berry's Restaurant to serve alcohol in Bresson Park or not is the question before Norwalk City Council. Berry's already has a deal with the city that allows the restaurant to serve food in the park, which is right next to its property, during the summer. However, city ordinance prohibits alcohol on city property.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

 

To drink, or not to drink that is the question.

Well, to be more accurate, to allow Berry's Restaurant to serve alcohol in Bresson Park or not is the question before Norwalk City Council. Berry's already has a deal with the city that allows the restaurant to serve food in the park, which is right next to its property, during the summer. However, city ordinance prohibits alcohol on city property.

Some city officials and council members oppose the proposal and worry what approving such a proposal would mean for the city. They don't fear that Berry's would become a wild party location as most people will simply have a glass of wine or bottle of beer with dinner but that such an exemption would set a bad precedent. The mayor said she already hears criticism because the city has allowed Berry's to use the park to serve food.

To that we say so what? Part of the charm of living in a small community is that the best needs of that community can be considered and each situation can be considered case-by-case. If the city is willing to let Berry's use the park, it ought to let Berry's be Berry's and serve everything on its menu, including alcohol.

There is a marked difference between allowing a place like Berry's to control alcohol use in a city park and letting any Tom, Dick or Harry get smashed in public. Berry's would be responsible for its patrons and their alcohol use, as they are inside at the Dinky. And if other restaurants want to serve alcohol, and they too meet the very detailed and extensive criteria of Ohio law, then the city should let them as well.

We all want more people to go uptown, spending their hard earned dollars here in Norwalk rather than outside the city. Outdoor dining is something that really could pull people to Main Street, rather than Sandusky or even Westlake and Cleveland.

At the very least, if council were to approve the measure for this summer only, it would serve as a test. If that "rowdy element" makes its way to Berry's, the city can rescind Berry's exemption but at least we would know.

Comments

N H concerned t...

I first off do not see where it has become tax payers responsibility to help increase business by providing a business with expansion of their business on city property that is maintained by city dollars. If any other business in this town expands, whether it be a restaurant, factory, retail, or grocery store they the business owners foots the bill not the tax payers. You say this will increase business up town. For who. The only business open at night even close to the park is Berrys. This is really opening a can of worms. Every business in this town no matter what kind should also get the same perks of having a city park for expansion. Schilds expanded by getting more property. They have beeen in town for years. I bet Casa Fiesta would love for the city to build them a city park in front of their new restaurant. Why not? Do for one do for all. Plus don't even try to tell me if someone falls on spilled beer, food, that the city will not also be included in the law suit. The city might be able to get out of the law suit but how much in tax dollars will that cost us when this all could have been avoided by them following the rules like all other businesses follow. They want to expand, then they need to buy their own property but not at the cost of tax payers.

RR TAXPAYER (An...

I agree with NH.City property is not the place for alcohol.Liability issues are not the only thing attached to this.Special favors need to cease in this town to a select few.What prevents any other business or private citizen to demand same favors?If this is allowed, then a police officer needs to be posted at the street and observe who is drinking and then driving.DUI for all!!

freedom fighter...

This is why no one goes to Norwalk for a night out. We go to Mansfield, Columbus or Sandusky as you can have outdoor cafes,dockside bar & grills,etc....WITH MUSIC & ALCOHOL,TOO!! With the economy the way it is, Norwalk should do everything it can to bring in every dollar it can......Every restaurant or bar that has the vision or opportunity should also be allowed to act on it as it will only mean more people and money in Norwalk, especially on the week-ends.

i think its tim...

i think its time to allow berry's to serve alcohol in the park. they do not need to have a police officer on duty at the fence either, just a couple staff members of the restaurant stopping alcohol from going into the parking lot or onto main street. it really isn't that difficult. i've worked in restaurants / pubs that have outdoor dining with alcohol, its actually very easy to maintain. i understand the tax payer's concerns, i do! but do you really think that alcohol isn't consumed on city property? i invite you to go to any of the city parks, look in the trash cans or on the ground around the trash cans or in the picnic shelters at the reservoir and those drinkers aren't looked after by a staff. i can assure you, berry's restaurant and the dinky have their staff members TIPS trained in order to know if someone has had too much and when to cut them off. again, its very easy, and there won't be a need for police presence - AND not everyone that drinks gets drunk. i have one or two drinks every weekend, it has been years since i've been "drunk". i absoulutely agree with freedom fighter, with the economy the way it is, norwalk should do everything it can to bring in each and every dollar that they're capable of. and as an entrepreneur, the berry family has done nothing to hurt the image of our town. its time that the town sees the importance of the berry family and this restaurant. if you're concerned about our tax money, be concerned that if this is dis-allowed, how much money it would cost taxpayers if berry's closed - not that i see that happening either, but i've seen it happen to bigger more legendary places in larger cities.

bingcrosby (Ano...

freedom fighter,

I'll bet there's a difference between Berry's and those out of town locations you mentioned. Those establishments most likely own the property on which alcohol is served.
Berry's doesn't own Bresson Park. Big difference.

Do I really think there's going to be a drunken brawl there? No. However, there's liability concerns, since the property is owned by the city. That liability increases, when the city knowingly allows this to happen.

Believe me, if something ever did happen, the city would somehow get dragged into it, and that means spending valuable taxpayer dollars for legal counsel.

With all due respect to Berry's, sorry, but this is a bad idea.
If Berry's wants to serve alcohol outside, perhaps the city will sell Bresson Park.

johncock (Anonymous)

I know when I'm thinking of a nice relaxing evening out with my wife or friends, nothing can beat the charm of city park seating 10 feet away from the longest string of traffic lights west of East 9th and Euclid, serving as a major throughfare for tractor trailers and thumping stereos.

Beth (Anonymous)

We really need more drunks hanging out uptown. And driving home. Nice idea!

no (Anonymous)

The second the city allows Berry's to sell alcohol in the park. I'm gonna ask for park space to set up shop. When they refuse...which they will, Ill sue. The parks are for everyone...not for private business. Never mix private money with public money.

patty (Anonymous)

this town has enough alcohol establishments without making a park a place to serve it. i moved here to get away from all of that and it seems like norwalk is party town central ,drugs and alcohol,people walk there and small children are around,norwalk is for children.

NO! NO!NO! (Ano...

I beleive last year berrys served alcohol outside.....I would say that should be considered a test as you say!Furthermore I have seen 2 employees out there sitting&drinking!How does that look?I have been a local business manager for many years&I do know you cannot have eyes in the back of your head!You cannot be everywhere at the same time!

REALITY (Anonymous)

This is the REALITY!In response to 'I think its time'.1:staff members friends come in to drink,they may look the other way about certain actions!2:If staff is needed inside do you really think Berrys will hire more to patrol the outside?3:You don't have to be drunk to offend passerbyers,so why add alcohol to that equasion,which could make a situation escalate?4:Its' not easy to maintain!You cannot be everywhere at the same time!5:I have literally seen many times that a bartender,server,even the OWNER of a restaurant/bar will continue to serve alcohol to their discreation just to get more tip money!6:Furthermore I think the city could really get a lot more revenue from all the darn JAYWALKERS from berrys restaraunt! My god -this has been a problem for years! I've been told several times in the past by people that say they were ticketed for walking across the street from one store to the other.But I've never heard or seen someone ticketed from going to or from berrys!And people walk right out in front of me or another car all the time!!Or they improperly park in the road while dropping someone off!And I do not mean handicapped!This is a momumental problem!7:Bringing in every $ as you say,doe's not mean it's a wise choice,what do you want next-a strip club?8:Remember the saying when one door closes, two more open up?9:Remember-if someone can sue,they most likely will!And i'm saying this because I have a family member that did sue a beautiful city,a lot nicer than Norwalk.For the same thing.Oh!By the way,he hired a local attorney & he WON!!!!!

Cory (Anonymous)

NO! If people want alcohol, they can go inside the Dinky and have it there. It is a PUBLIC PARK which you cannot drink in a PUBLIC PARK and the Berrys should not be an exception to the rule!

Beth (Anonymous)

I think rich people usually get their way...but they shouldn't.

Taxpayer (Anonymous)

If they allow Berry's to use the park then every other bar/restaurant should get the same exact same chance. Is the city now in the business of setting up monopolies at the taxpayers expense? If they go ahead and allow it I suggest the city levels a 2 or 3 dollar per drink tax to help cover the legal expenses when the first drunk falls and sues. I'll be honest, the last meal I had in Berry's was pretty bad. Maybe they need to get the patrons drunk so they lose their sense of taste.

James (Anonymous)

Absolutely not, how dare the city allow this to go on in a public park. I don't understand how its legal for Berrys to serve food in the park, since the park is public property. There is a big difference between owning the property and serving alcohol and trying to serve it on public property.