Are tamales better with beer?;Council considers alcohol sales at city festivals

RICHARD NELSON
editor@dibollfreepress.com

Diboll City Council on Monday broached the subject of allowing alcohol sales at certain city events, such as May’s annual Tamale Fest, October’s biannual Diboll Day and March’s first Crawfish Boil. Council took no action in order to gauge the feelings of the community.
Alcohol sale and consumption is prohibited on city-owned property, except at Neches Pines Golf Course.
“The concept in allowing these events is to increase attendance and revenue,” said City Manager Dennis McDuffie.
If an ordinance was approved, it would allow for only one vendor to sell alcohol at an event, and there would be a specific area designated for the sale and consumption. No alcohol would be allowed outside that area, such as a “beer garden.” Festival patrons would not be allowed to wander through the festival with alcohol.
“The Forest Festival (in Lufkin) did this last year and it was very successful,” said Kathy Sample, president of the Civic Center Board. There didn’t seem to be any trouble, and it is a good source of income for the festival.”
City Attorney Jimmy Cassels reminded council of the last time the issue was brought before the council.
“It was an extremely volatile issue, as general and mundane as it looks,” he said. “My suggestion is to let this filter through the community before you take action.”
The Rev. Kenny Hibbs of First Baptist Church offered his thoughts.
“I have seen so many lives destroyed from alcohol,” Hibbs said. “I don’t want anything to cause God to turn his back on us.”
In other business, Council discussed renovations to the City Hall and Diboll Police and Fire Department buildings.
A leading option is to build a five-bay metal building for the fire department behind the current building. The current bays would be closed-in for police department use, which would double the squad room size and include an interview room.
The current building was built in 1977 when Diboll had four officers; there are 19 now, said Ricky Conner, Diboll police chief.
The plan calls for City Hall to add-on a new council chambers and to renovate the current council chambers into offices.
“The city needs room to grow, to have a more efficient work environment,” McDuffie said. “The fire department and police department are practically on top of each other.”
Cost of the project is estimated at $500 ,000to $600,000