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Nonprofits can serve alcohol in Strongsville City Commons, under new legislation

June 18, 2018

Nonprofits can serve alcohol in Strongsville City Commons, under new legislation

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio – City Council voted 6-0 last month to allow the serving of alcohol in City Commons, at the northeast corner of Royalton and Pearl roads, at the request of Strongsville City Club.

That’s according to Strongsville Safety Director Charles Goss. The law change means the City Club can sell beer and wine at its annual Rib Burnoff, scheduled for June 21, 22 and 23 in the commons.

“This will be the first time any group has lawfully sold alcoholic beverages on the City Commons,” Goss told cleveland.com in an email.

The club sought the code change specifically for the Rib Burnoff. Under the new legislation, other organizations can also serve alcohol during special events in city commons from now on, but only if they, like Strongsville City Club, are nonprofits.

All money raised through alcohol sales in city commons must be used for charitable, cultural, educational or organizational purposes.

The sale of alcohol in city commons is permitted only between June 15 and Labor Day. Any group wanting to serve alcohol in the commons must apply and pay a $100 fee, which Goss said would cover the city’s cost of evaluating and processing applications.

Goss said no other organization has applied for a permit to serve alcohol in city commons so far.

Previously, the sale of alcohol on city property was allowed only at the Walter F. Ehrnfelt Recreation Center, on Pearl just east of city commons.

Under the ordinance, only “alcoholic beverages,” including beer, and “intoxicating liquor,” including wine, can be served in city commons. Both terms are defined as drinks containing one-half of 1 percent or more of alcohol.

“Spirituous liquor,” consisting of more than 21 percent alcohol, is banned in both city commons and the recreation-senior center, under the ordinance.

The ordinance allows Strongsville’s safety director to establish additional rules regarding the sale of alcohol in city commons. Goss said he has done so specifically for the Rib Burnoff. His additional rules require:

Gates. The City Club must install gates around the area it will serve alcohol to make sure alcohol sold in the commons doesn’t leave the commons, and that outside alcohol is not brought in.

Signs. The signs must state that alcohol the City Club serves cannot leave the commons and that alcohol from outside sources is not allowed.

Training. All volunteers serving alcohol must receiving training in alcohol sales so they don’t serve to those underage or those who become too intoxicated. Training is provided by the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, and internet-based training is also available.

Security. At least five police officers and one police supervisor must oversee the sale of alcohol during the Rib Burnoff and any future events in city commons. Goss said since the Rib Burnoff is considered a “community event,” the Police Department will assign officers at no charge to the City Club. In the future, the police chief will decide on a case-by-case basis whether an organization must pay for its own security, based on the group’s financial resources and the nature of the event.

Insurance. The group organizing the event must acquire liability insurance.

Control. The club must secure and control alcohol it stocks in and around the commons.

In addition, the city will set times that sales and consumption are allowed in the commons, and the group serving alcohol must abide by all state liquor laws and regulations.