On Tuesday the City of Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Board voted 5-0 to ban alcohol in Van Eps and Tower Parks near Downtown.  

Sioux Falls City Council Chair Dean Karsky says a lot of thought and discussion lies ahead for his colleagues regarding this issue.  Part of the reality of these places is the common usage of the green space.  “These aren’t children’s parks.  They don’t have playground equipment.  Van Eps especially is really not even a neighborhood park.  There’s no residences really close by to it.”  Just recently portable toilets were added to the area and Karsky says by doing so nuisance calls have decreased dramatically.

In the place of an outright ban on alcohol, Karsky says there are other viable options.  “Instead of an outright ban do we limit the hours that alcohol can be consumed in these parks or other parks?”  Another idea could be limiting the hours of consumption for weekday or weekend social norms.  “Banning alcohol isn’t going to change these people’s behavior.  It’s just going to push them into another place.”  Karsky mentions the visibility of Van Eps Park at the location from Minnesota Avenue heightens the sensitivity of the situation the Council faces.

The first reading of the ordinance change will be Tuesday September 2.  The second reading would happen most likely on the following week September 9.  If the change is accepted by the City Council, the new rule would take effect in early October.