Sports drinks may take on a new meaning in Edina, as the city weighs a proposal to expand beer and wine sales at some of its city-owned parks and recreation areas.
City staff are recommending that beer and wine sales be allowed at Braemar Arena, the Braemar Golf Dome and the lawn games area at Centennial Lakes Park. The proposed ordinance also would allow sales of strong beer in city facilities, lifting the current restriction that allows only lower-alcohol 3.2 beer in city-owned properties that already sell alcohol, such as the clubhouse at Fred Richards Park.
But the new law won’t open the door to any boozy free-for-alls, officials said. Alcohol sales will be strictly limited. For example, beer and wine would be sold at Centennial Lakes only during league play for croquet and lawn bowling or during private events.
And forget about cracking a cold one while you watch your kid’s hockey practice at Braemar Arena. The addition of Braemar to the list is intended solely to allow beer sales during the Robertson Cup, a national junior hockey tournament that Edina is hosting in May.
Ann Kattreh, Edina’s parks and recreation director, said the proposal is meant to boost the city’s hospitality business.
“We have a beautiful facility for croquet and lawn games at Centennial Lakes. We thought we might be able to expand our league events,” Kattreh said. “We also do a lot of corporate events at that facility, and we’ve had a lot of requests for beer and wine.”
The Robertson Cup will bring thousands of out-of-town visitors to the city, Kattreh said, and the league expects the host arena to sell beer. The move is also in line with how other Minnesota cities have relaxed their alcohol rules.
“The trend statewide is to offer malt liquor and wine in confined areas in public park facilities,” said a staff report to the City Council on the proposal.
Edina has a history of restricting alcohol, but recent actions have been more booze-friendly. The city didn’t allow restaurants to serve alcohol until 1985, and it still bans stand-alone bars. But last year, the City Council killed a requirement that restaurants ring up at least 60 percent of their sales from food. It also gave the OK to some brewpubs, taprooms, distilleries and cocktail rooms.