Parks to Ask for Extension of Directive Allowing Alcohol in Certain Parks

The county’s Planning Board will be asked to renew the Temporary Suspension of Alcohol Prohibition in Designated Parks at the commission’s Thursday, May 27 meeting, according to a press release from Montgomery Parks.

The temporary directive was part of a pilot program enacted on Sept. 24, 2020, which suspended the prohibition of alcohol in nine Montgomery Parks, which is set to expire May 31.

The renewal would extend the directive for another 12 months and expands the number of parks included in the pilot from nine to 13.

The pilot program was part of the Picnic in the Park initiative launched in August 2020 in conjunction with Visit Montgomery. The program allows park visitors to easily find nearby restaurants offering takeout and delivery.

Each park has signs with a QR code that visitors can scan to be connected to the MoCo Eats website, a Visit Montgomery online restaurant directory with more than 800 listings.

The site allows park visitors to connect and order directly from a nearby restaurant. Each park has a designated delivery area where picnickers can meet a driver and pick up their order.

The program allows picnickers to consume beer, wine or mixed drinks in certain areas of designated parks from 11 a.m. to dusk.

“The pilot program allowing alcohol in a select number of parks has been very well received by the public. People have been enjoying food and adult beverages at these parks in a responsible way, which is why we are extending the duration of the program and expanding it to four more parks,” said Mike Riley, director of Montgomery Parks, in the release. “It has also been a valuable effort to support local businesses, many of which have been struggling due to restrictions from the pandemic.”

Locally, three parks were part of the pilot—Jesup Blair Local Park (900 Jesup Blair Dr.), Acorn Urban Park (8060 Newell St.) and Takoma Urban Park (7035 Carroll Ave.).

If approved, the extension would add three more local parks—Ellsworth Urban Park (621 Ellsworth Dr.), Flower Avenue Urban Park (8746 Flower Ave.) and Carroll Knolls Local Park (10500 Georgia Ave.).

As in the pilot program, alcohol would only be permitted within designated areas in each park; it would not be allowed in the Ellsworth dog park, for example.

After approval, Montgomery Parks crews will place signs in the newly designated park spaces in advance of the effective date of May 31.

Photo from Cory Van Horn (Visit Montgomery)

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