Park board sets public hearing on alcohol request

After getting some one-on-one feedback on a request to allow alcohol in the parks, the Vandalia Park District Board of Commissioners has decided to hold a public forum on the issue.
At their meeting last week, commissioners addressed that latest request, which would allow consumption of alcohol for softball games.
However, they emphasized that this was not the first request, with previous ones made for a special event or a family reunion.
“I’ve talked to probably 80 people, and it seems pretty split at 50/50,” Commissioner Brian Stout said.
“I still have a lot of questions,” Stout said. “I want to hear concerns from the public.”
Other commissioners agreed with Stout, and they decided to hold a public forum on the issue at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 16, in the Little Theater at the Vandalia Elementary School.
After that decision was made, notice of the hearing was posted on Facebook pages by Stout and The Leader-Union. As of early Wednesday, Stout’s page had 15 shares and more than 160 comments, with numerous comments by some of the posters, including Stout and Cody Hawkins, who made the request for alcohol at softball games.
In a poll on the homepage of The Leader-Union website,, 77 percent of the 39 people voting oppose alcohol in the parks.
The issue was discussed briefly prior to the start of a meeting on Tuesday, with those present saying that many residents had complained about the park board bringing up the issue. They explained that the board has not brought up the issue, but has decided to get public input after having received several requests from individuals or groups.
Thursday’s meeting was the first for a new commissioner, Ty McNary, who was appointed to the board after Marjorie Blythe resigned last month; Blythe died on Monday after a lengthy battle with cancer.

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