|Updated: 3/21/2012 10:25 pm
||Published: 3/21/2012 7:39 pm
HOT SPRINGS, AR - Despite opposition, the Alcohol Beverage Control Board approved Magic Springs request to serve alcoholic beverages at more venues at the amusement park by a 3-1 vote.
The ABC board asked people to give their opinion at a public hearing Wednesday afternoon on Magic Springs serving alcohol at 8 locations in the park, up from 7. Currently, the park only serves alcohol at 5 venues, but General Manager Steve Honeycutt says Magic Springs would like additional options. "No one is allowed to walk around the park with beers in their hands. Alcohol consumption is confined to certain areas because we're just as concerned about children as those in opposition to the increase are."
People who oppose the increase say they don't want children exposed to drinking adults. Shelly Blackwell serves as the spokesperson for the roughly 15 people who signed up stating they are against the increase. "Kids are bombarded with so many negative pictures and images. When they go to the park, they really do want it to be theirs."
The ABC board says Magic Springs has never had an alcohol violation. Honeycutt testified employees who serve alcohol are trained. "Safety is our number one concern regardless if we're putting you on a roller coaster, serving you food, or alcohol. It doesn't matter to us. Our number one concern is safety, and we're just as concerned about the children as they are."
Blackwell says many in opposition to the alcohol venue increase left the meeting disappointed, threatening to take their business elsewhere, wishing Magic Springs didn't serve alcohol at all, but hopeful management will listen to their concerns. "They really need to show a community task force their plan for training."
Even though the board approved the additional alcohol venue in the park, Honeycutt says Magic Springs will not serve alcohol at more than the current 5 locations. He says they just want to have the option in case their needs change. The decision now allows Magic Springs the freedom to change up the locations where it serves alcohol.