Auburn’s City Council will be voting Monday, Feb. 10 on an ordinance that would allow the sale and consumption of alcohol in McCutchen Coke Municipal Park during city-sponsored events.

The first reading on this ordinance was held Jan. 13 and passed with a majority vote. Councilmen Rex Evans and Mike Rogers voted no.

“I think that it is opening a door that is something we really don’t need and could lead to bigger things,” said councilman Mike Rogers on why he voted no on the first reading. “I don’t feel we are equipped as a small city the problems that could come up because of this. A lot of people aren’t going to like it. With those people not liking it and the trouble it could cause, it’s not a good idea to pursue that direction.”

Rogers also stated that he was concerned that allowing alcohol in close proximity to where kids play could lead to unwanted things.

“I just don’t think we need to put ourselves in a bad spot,” added Rogers. “We can’t think about what we want but what the whole city would want and I don’t see where it will benefit the city as a whole in any way.”

Councilman Evans, who has served Auburn for over a decade on council, explained his vote will most likely change come Monday after he was able to investigate the ordinance further.

“I voted no on the first reading due to a lack of understanding. I had been working 12-hour shifts at work and hadn’t had a lot of sleep when first hearing about it,” said Evans. “After investigating the ordinance I will be going into Monday night’s meeting with a better understanding. With the ordinance, the city can regulate where alcohol can be sold and consumed. The city does have some control over it that way. Come Monday night I will vote differently.”

With the growth of the annual Wine and Food Festival and Summer Concert Series in Auburn, additional space is needed for the large crowds who attend these events according to councilwoman Rhonda Sullivan. Moving them to the park seemed to be the best option she said.

“We first considered this ordinance when we started having our Summer Concert Series,” said Sullivan. “Currently, we are hosting the event on the square but with continued growth with each show, it won’t be long before we outgrow this location. We need to be able to have some larger place to offer this city event and others.”

The ordinance, if passed, will only allow alcohol to be sold and consumed in designated areas of the park. Also, alcohol will only be allowed at city-tourism sponsored events. So drinking in the park will not be allowed any other times outside of these events.

“The importance of this ordinance is for all city-sponsored or co-sponsored events held in the park may be able to serve, sell or consume alcohol. That way we can keep track of the event that may need extra security and be able to establish the locations of the events, so that not just anyone can pull up and start dispensing alcohol,” Sullivan added.