Jacksonville Main Street wants its own liquor license this year

By Gary Scott on January 26, 2016 at 8:26am

Regulations for alcohol sales at a series of concerts in downtown Jacksonville this summer could be set soon.

Jacksonville’s city attorney will draft an ordinance amendment allowing the issuance of a liquor license for events conducted by Jacksonville Main Street after officials with the non-profit requested the license for this year’s Downtown Celebration and the ten-week Levitt AMP Concert Series last night.

Kristen Jenkins of Jacksonville Main Street explained alcohol sales at this year’s Downtown Celebration, scheduled for May 14th, would be like last year’s, where patrons were allowed to roam freely around the downtown square with their drinks. However, Jenkins said there would be an enclosed area for the concerts.

Jenkins says there are several reasons why Jacksonville Main Street wants a liquor license.

“Whoever holds the liquor license assumes the liability if anything happens to anyone that’s consuming the alcohol. In the past, we’ve used local establishments at our events; they purchase the alcohol, and we basically buy it from them. So, we’re using their license, we pay for the drink and everything else, but if something were to happen, they’re assuming the liability for whatever that accident may be,” explains Jenkins.

“The second reason we wanted it was for the income for the sale of the beer and wine. Jacksonville Main Street has to raise $25,000 in matching funds for the Levitt AMP grant,” she adds.

City Attorney Dan Beard explained in the past, Jacksonville Main Street has used a “special events license” for selling beer at downtown events. He says this would be similar to the kind of license used for racing events at the Jacksonville Speedway.

Ironically, Alderwoman Marcy Patterson brought up the races by expressing concern that the concerts, which will run on Fridays except for the final show, will be competitive with the vehicle competitions. Jenkins addresses that.

“It’s really difficult to choose the perfect date when there’s not any other conflicting events happening in town or the surrounding towns, and that’s important to us. We’re hoping to attract not only Jacksonville residents, but residents from outside the area. We’re hoping to pull visitors from Springfield and all the smaller towns around us, and Friday just seemed to be the best date,” Jenkins says.

“The biggest conflict, obviously, is the Morgan County Fair, so, we’ll just choose a genre of music that evening that will pull in a different demographic of people.”

Jenkins told aldermen she’s gotten the support of Jacksonville Police Chief Tony Grootens regarding the license proposal.

Also at last night’s City Council get-together, aldermen approved resolutions authorizing Collective Bargaining Agreements for the Jacksonville Fire Fighters Captains’ Committee and the International Union of Operating Engineers representing City Hall employees.

The agreements are for four and five years, respectively.

Story correction: the union contracts were not for three and four years, respectively, as previously reported.