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City denies softball league’s request for seasonal beer permit

Ball and beer are often synonymous, but that might not be the case for the Powell Softball League.

Permit violations were observed last year, parks superintendent Del Barton said. On two separate occasions, players were observed drinking in the dugout and a spectator was as well, he said.

“There were many cases of beer inside and outside the dugout — just a significant amount of alcohol in the dugout,” Barton said. “I have some real concerns about it.”

Nobody from the softball association was present at the Powell City Council’s meeting on May 18, although their beer permit request was on the council’s agenda.

“It is assumed, since it was done historically, that it will be signed,” Barton said. “My opinion would be they should be present. If they sign on the dotted line, they need to be here to address the issues.”

The council tabled their decision until their June 1 meeting so the softball association can be present for the discussion. In the meantime, audiences for Powell softball games can’t drink during the games.

“We need to make it plain to them we aren’t going to put up with it,” Mayor Don Hillman said. “If it continues as it has in the past, we won’t give a permit.”

Under the permit, the only people who can drink are the audience and it’s only allowed outside of the baseball fields and dugouts.

Conditions of the permit include the following:

• Consumption of alcohol is prohibited by any team member, manager or coach once a team begins warming up for their scheduled game and until they have cleared the dugout.

• Players and umpires may not drink alcohol anywhere in the complex while their game is underway.

• Minors are prohibited from consuming any alcohol.

• The association is responsible for related trash and incidents.

When it comes to violations, it’s two strikes and you’re out under the permit’s stipulations.

According to the softball association’s seasonal beer permit, any misuse of alcohol will result in “ejection of that player from the present game and suspension from the next regularly scheduled game.” If a second incident occurs, the player would be suspended for the remainder of the season and on probation the following year.

“Clearly there were significant violations,” Barton said. “Discussion with the police chief is he believes since it is connected to the softball association that his hands are tied.”

Councilman Eric Paul disagreed, saying it didn’t sound like a “hand tying situation,” and if laws are being violated then they need to be asked to adhere to the ordinance. He also asked if there were any cases of vandalism.

“Directly, no — indirectly, there was a trashcan filled to capacity. All eight cans were filled, it presents a burden on us for the extra clean-up,” Barton said.

The issue of beer permit violations with the softball association comes up every four or five years, councilman Josh Shorb said.

“I’m not saying it is right,” Shorb said. “They need to have a plan on how to police this.”

“We have an organization that’s job is to do that,” Paul added.

Brock Ninker, co-owner of Hansel and Gretel’s, pointed out that the police do walk-throughs at the bars and asked why they don’t do them for major events that happen seven days a week.

“Good point,” Councilman Jim Hillberry said.

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