Riverside Park in Whitehall.

By PJ Ferguson

Whitehall Village Board member Teresa Austin aired multiple concerns she received from individuals regarding allowing the sale and consumption of alcohol in Riverside Park for the Sasquatch Calling Festival and other approved events.

The concerns varied from the Sasquatch Festival being a “family event,” to increased police presence being required costing the taxpayers more, and Riverside Park being a veterans memorial park that is small in size.

“If there were 3,000 people, evidently no need for alcohol to draw people in,” said Austin reading a complaint she received.

Austin revealed that a vendor from the festival said they have witnessed parents already drinking before the event and that “children should be considered in this decision.”

“Which is valid,” said Austin.

None of the other trustees commented on these criticisms.

Sasquatch Fest organizer Barbara Spoor approached the board in January to see if it would consider allowing alcohol in the park for select events. At the time, the board was receptive to the idea with Mayor Phil Smith calling it a “great idea” and Austin agreeing.

“It’s not new, they’re doing it everywhere,” said Austin in January regarding a proposed wine and craft beer festival.

The board agreed it would be open to permitting alcohol on an event-by-event basis.

Back in February the Whitehall town board responded positively to Spoor’s request for alcohol being served in Skenesborough Park as long as the proper paperwork and permits were gathered prior to board approval.

Additionally, Austin proposed that dogs not be allowed in Riverside Park because of individuals not picking up after their pets.

“It is disgusting,” said Austin. “I don’t think there should be dogs in that park, it’s so small and they make such a mess.”

Board member David Chaplin agreed more measures were needed, such as putting up signs to remind pet owners to clean up after themselves, but he did not want to go as far as banning dogs from the park.

“Try to get them to clean it first,” said Chaplin.

Trustee Timothy Watson agreed with the severity of the situation, also labeling the scene as “disgusting.”

“They’re not picking up after their dogs, especially now, when it’s getting good weather, the young kids are going to want to come out and play,” said Watson.

“I couldn’t believe it was that bad,” said Austin.

 

 

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