If you go
The Collier County Commission meets beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the commission chambers at the county government complex, corner of Airport-Pulling Road and U.S. 41 East.
NAPLES — You take your last stride across the finish line at your first charitable race at a Collier County park.
Instead of being greeted with a chilled bottle of water, you get a cold, frothy beer spilling over from a plastic cup. Perhaps you’d prefer wine. That might be an option.
Collier County commissioners are scheduled to decide Tuesday whether allowing alcohol sales and consumption in more parks is a good move. Of course, alcohol won’t necessarily be available at all events, but a resolution could allow event planners and county staff to consider the option.
Some park-goers say the health and family atmosphere of the parks conflicts with the atmosphere created by intoxicated patrons.
“Just don’t mix alcohol, adults, children and water,” said Ginger Coffee, 39, visiting Naples from Long Island, N.Y.
“I don’t need someone stumbling into my son and knocking him in the water,” she said as she and her 2-year-old son enjoyed the day at North Collier Regional Park, home of the Sun-N-Fun Lagoon water park.
Currently, alcohol permits require commission approval. The policy change would free up commissioners’ time and put the decision in the hands of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, county government spokesman John Torre said.
“Parks has had experience with allowing alcohol sales at special permitted events with no problems,” Torre said in an e-mail to the Daily News.
If commissioners approve the resolution Tuesday, then beer, wine and champagne could be sold both at public and private events.
Currently, beer is sold at the county’s stores at the Goodland and Port of the Islands boat ramps, Torre said.
The Naples Grande also has a permit to sell alcohol at the Clam Pass concession as part of its lease within the park, he said.
These will continue.
As part of the change, sale and consumption of alcohol would also be permissible at public and private events at Sugden Regional Park in East Naples, Immokalee Airport Park, North Collier Regional Park on Livingston Road and Golden Gate Community Center.
The resolution defines alcohol as only including beer, wine and champagne. It prohibits the use of glass and Styrofoam containers.
Not all residents who frequent the parks saw a problem with the idea.
“It wouldn’t bother me at all,” said Heidi Seto, 24, of North Naples.
Then she laughed.
“Well, some events would be appropriate and others not. If it’s an event just for kids, that wouldn’t seem right,” Seto said.
However, for the most part, she said she would feel safe taking her son, Abram, 2, with her to an event at a park that sold beer or wine.
Jim Raney, 65, of North Naples, frequently goes to the county parks with his grandson Tyler, 4. He wouldn’t go as often if beer and wine were in the mix, Raney said.
“It’s a place for family and kids … I’m old-fashioned, family values, there’s no doubt about that,” Raney said slowly shaking his head at the idea as he pushed Tyler on a swing.
Naples visitor Coffee summed up what many parents had to say of the idea: “There is a time and a place and the park isn’t the place.”
There are safeguards, however, Torre pointed out.
Alcohol may not be taken out of the event; insurance must be carried; at least two Collier County sheriff’s deputies per 1,000 attendees would be required, Collier County Emergency Medical Services must be contracted to keep an ambulance on standby and the alcohol must be indoors or sectioned off by tall fencing.
The special alcohol areas, referred to by county officials as “beer gardens” must be fenced using 6-foot-high chain-link fencing.
“If it’s isolated ... maybe,” Coffee said of the beer gardens.