County officials consider beer, wine sales at fairgrounds to increase revenue

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. (April 7, 2016) –  The Johnson County Commissioners are considering a proposal to allow wine and beer sales at the county fairgrounds and parks.

It's been 17 years since any alcohol was allowed on county grounds, but the commissioners hope the change brings more revenue into the parks department.

“We asked them to generate money and we felt like if we’re going to ask them to generate funds and revenue, why tie their hands and not allow them to do what we’ve asked them to do," said Johnson County Commissioner Brian Baird.

Baird says the goal is to attract more events at the county's parks and it's been hard to book wedding and concerts with the no alcohol rule.

“Those are things that can generate the funds," said Baird. "That we hope will pay for maintenance, costs and improvements that we’re doing at those areas."

Local breweries and wineries will also be able to hold private tastings at the venues if the proposal passes.

"It’s a great idea," said Mallow Run Winery Owner John Richardson. “I think (the parks) will be a natural place for wineries, breweries to offer tastings and sell their products.”

However, the proposal does prohibit all hard liquor sales and alcohol sales during the county's 4-H fair in the summer.

The public couldn't bring outside alcohol to the park at events where alcohol is being sold. However, that provision only includes the event itself and does not ban alcohol at the entire park. No alcohol is allowed at the other county park, Independence Park.

The commissioners plan to vote on the alcohol ordinance at their next meeting on April 11. If it passes, vendors could start applying to sell beer and wine at the venues as early as next week.

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