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The city of Paynesville is debating an alcohol ordinance for the new shelter built at the Veterans Memorial Park on Lake Koronis. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

Paynesville talks shelter liquor ordinance

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PAYNESVILLE -- Local clubs and nonprofit groups may soon be allowed to bring alcohol to Veterans Park on Lake Koronis if they rent the park's new shelter.

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Mayor Jeff Thompson said this week the Paynesville City Council will discuss a new ordinance Monday during the regular meeting that would allow shelter-renting patrons to bring alcohol to the park.

Thompson said Paynesville's city attorney is working on drafting the new ordinance to present to the council. He said the city has researched other local examples of similar ordinances the city can mimic and adjust for its needs.

The pending ordinance comes just a month after the city started construction on the new Veterans Park Shelter on Lake Koronis. The shelter, which will cost about $145,000, will include kitchen facilities and bathrooms. The Paynesville project also garnered local support as Stearns County and Paynesville Township promised to chip in $25,000 each.

Thompson said Paynesville hasn't rushed into the ordinance idea as multiple government levels have debated the effects of having liquor at the park.

"We weighed heavily the pros and cons," Thompson said. "There was large discussion at both the park committee level and council level."

With the pending ordinance, Thompson said, the city would allow liquor only on the shelter side of Veterans Park. However, not just any patron could have liquor on the premises, he said. Only those people who rent the new shelter or a part of it on a given day would be allowed to have alcohol at the park, Thompson said.

"It would not be allowed in the beach area and would only be in conjunction with rental of the shelter," Thompson said.

The ordinance would allow groups or local clubs to hold a scheduled gathering or event at the lake and have alcohol on the premises, Thompson said.

"We've already had several people and groups inquiring about the shelter," Thompson said. "So it looks like its going to be a popular thing."

The city will rent out the shelter as a whole or in portions to groups wanting to use it, Thompson said. The rental fee will range from $150 plus tax for the whole facility to $25 for one portion of the shelter.

Thompson also indicated the rental fee will be cheaper for nonprofit groups using the facilities and each party will have to pay a $50 damage deposit before using the facility.

Thompson said he expects the City Council to approve or reject the ordinance during the Monday meeting.

According to archive, Paynesville plans to finish construction of the shelter before the end of the summer so that lake-goers can use the facility.

In other recent business:

- The Paynesville City Council held a special closed meeting Monday regarding preliminary consideration of charges against personnel of the Paynesville municipal liquor store. Thompson said he could reveal little about the discussions held during the closed meeting. The council did not resolve the situation during the meeting, Thompson said. "There's not much that can be said at this point in time."

- The council will continue the interviewing process for a new manager of the municipal liquor store during this Monday's meeting. Thompson said the city will meet with the finalists for the position and possibly make a final decision on the new city employee.

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