Our opinion: Alcohol should be allowed in Gichi-ziibi – under certain conditions – Brainerd Dispatch

Should Brainerd Public Schools allow alcoholic beverages to be sold during non-school events at Jichi Zippy Arts Center?

It’s a question that the school board is currently considering and like the school board, we can see the pros and cons on both sides. It is not a simple question to answer.

But all things considered, we feel that alcohol should be allowed in school facilities during non-school events. We don’t see a scenario where someone attends an event, concert, or other event with the idea of ​​misusing the alcohol being served. Instead, we see that it functions like other entertainment venues – people having a glass of wine or two while enjoying the show.

This issue was brought to the school board on May 9 by Scott Likens, executive director of the Lakes District Music Festival, who sought permission to serve liquor at the season opener and four other concerts that take place at the Gichi-ziibi Center for the Arts throughout the summer.

Leekens said liquor service will be strictly limited to the lobby of the Geechi Zippy Center and will only be available to invited or invited guests, usually adults only. Alcohol will only be served by licensed caterers, and there will also be non-alcoholic options. The Lake District Music Festival will obtain its liquor license from the city prior to sales, which means that the District will have no liability.

At the May 9 meeting, school board member Charles Black Lance asked fellow board members to consider how to mitigate any risk factors and, most of all, how alcohol would ultimately serve district students.

We respect Black Lance’s concerns, and they are valid. But we do not believe that the proposed alcohol sales will rise to the level of interest in promoting alcohol to students, especially when the proposed events are not school events.

Also, we do not believe that the School Board will set a precedent if it establishes a well-defined policy that takes into account any demand for all facilities within the school district. Part of this policy shall include a warning that each application will be considered on a case-by-case basis, with final approval by a vote of the School Board.

Yes, the Gichi-ziibi Arts Center is a Brainerd Public Schools facility, but it was approved by voters in 2018 and built to be so much more. It belongs to the entire community and will be used by everyone, so that everyone can enjoy it. We consider alcohol service appropriate for the purpose of the building when it hosts public events not related to the school district.

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