El Paso

Survey: 61 percent do not want alcohol served at County Sportspark

Commissioners postpone vote, want more data

Survey 61 percent do not want alcohol...

EL PASO, Texas - County commissioners have been looking into potentially banning or reducing the sale of alcohol at the County Sportspark for months.

During Monday's meeting, Commissioners Court received a presentation on a survey conducted by the Alcohol Impact Network.

A total of 902 people were surveyed: 300 by phone and another 602 by paper or online interviews.

The survey reveals 61 percent of those surveyed believe it is not a good idea for alcohol to be served at the Sportspark. 37 percent believe it is a good idea. Two percent responded they were not sure.

The survey also shows 27 percent of people had witnessed negative or inappropriate behavior due to alcohol consumption at the Sportspark. 72 percent responded they had not seen that. One percent responded they were not sure.

On June 5, a motion by Commissioners Court to ban all alcohol sales at the Sportspark failed. However, the court asked county staff to come back with more data, and potential policy ideas.

The County's public works department had previously conducted a survey in May, consisting of park goers, about the sale of alcohol. The court said a more thorough survey was needed.

"The right thing to do is to not have alcohol," county commissioner Carlos Leon said. "This is not in line with the way the county operates, and it should not be allowed."

Commissioner Andrew Haggerty said he is not opposed to banning alcohol at the SportsPark. However, he said he's displeased with the way the Court has been handling the issue.

"The people who want to drink are going to drink anyway. Whether that's sneaking it in, or drinking in the parking lot," Haggerty said. "The problem I've got is why do we ask people's opinions, and then when we don't like it we do another survey."

Haggerty added, "Where do we stop? Are we going to outlaw candy?"

Lt. Saul Ambriz with the Sheriff's Office presented data on the incidents they have had to respond to at the SportsPark. In 2017, they arrested one person at the park because of a DWI.

Both Haggerty and County Judge Veronica Escobar asked if the Sheriff's Office could present data on their responses at other parks, where sales of alcohol are prohibited.

Ultimately, the vote to ban or change the sale of alcohol policy has been postponed for three weeks.

The move will allow County  staff to come back with more data and allow the entirety of Commissioners Court to vote on the proposal.

The County Sportspark is located in Far East El Paso south of Zaragoza and Montwood.


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