Teams playing in softball tournaments next summer won't be able to buy beer at the Clinton Lake Softball Complex.
Softball and beer don't mix, Lawrence city commissioners decided Tuesday night.
On a 3-2 vote, commissioners decided not to allow beer sales next summer at the city's Clinton Lake Softball Complex.
Parks and recreation staffers sought permission for Mid-America Concessions, which operates the concessions stand, to sell 3.2 beer during up to six weekend tournaments at the complex, which opened last year.
A majority of commissioners, however, didn't buy into the game plan.
"I don't believe the city should be in the business of selling alcohol," said Commissioner Erv Hodges.
Commissioner Bob Moody said he was worried beer could lead to fights, umpire abuse and disputes between teams.
"That's not the kind of atmosphere I want to promote," said Moody, who opposed beer sales along with Commissioner John Nalbandian.
Other complexes in the state that allow beer sales have not reported any problems, said Tom Wilkerson, assistant director of parks and recreation.
Beer sales actually would pay off in Lawrence, Wilkerson said, by pouring more money into city coffers by improving the bottom line for concessionaires. The city receives up to 20 percent of Mid-America's gross receipts; last year, the complex's concessions stand took in less than $6,000.
"The more he sells, the more the city makes," Wilkerson said.
Bob Stanclift, the city's adult sports supervisor, said he knew of two other communities that changed their minds after starting their complexes without beer sales. Opening the taps helped boost revenue by 400 percent.
Besides, many teams that travel to tournaments also expect to buy beer at the field.
"It's very much a part of the socialization of softball," Stanclift said. "I look at this as a very positive thing for the complex."
Mayor Bonnie Augustine joined Commissioner Marty Kennedy in supporting beer sales.
Augustine said she had faith in the proposed system, in which staffers would allow beer sales and Mid-America would be liable for the sales. And ripping umpires and other players is just part of the game.
"They're going to do that anyway," Augustine said.
Kennedy didn't foresee any problems, either. He figures "there's nothing more pleasurable" than grabbing a cold one after a game then sitting around with teammates for a little camaraderie.
"That's very dear to their hearts to be able to do this," Kennedy said.
- City commission briefs. Page 4B.