Bremerton Ice Center seeking to serve alcohol to boost revenue

The Bremerton Ice Center operators say plans to serve beer and wine during hockey games and events won't turn the local skating rink into a night club.

The Bremerton Ice Center, which is privately owned by Joanne Haselwood but sits on city land located at 1950 Homer Jones Drive, is again asking Bremerton City Council for permission to serve alcohol.

The rink is open year-round and hosts public skating, figure skating and ice hockey programs.

When the ice center originally went before the city council with an October 2011 request to serve alcohol, the discussion ended in a tied vote.

This week, ice rink staff hope to show councilmembers during a Wednesday study session that alcohol sales won't turn the rink into a nightclub, said Derek Donald, ice center general manager.

The arena would serve beer and wine at functions like private parties and hockey games.

“That beer and wine would be served responsibly to users and to the audience and appropriate,” Donald said. He said he'd have more specific details at the Wednesday meeting.

Alcohol sales will also be a way for the ice rink to bring in more revenue and offset high overhead costs, said Parks and Recreation Director Wyn Birkenthal, who recommends that council approve the change.

"It's nice we can provide recreation that doesn't cost the city anything," he said. "It's in the city's interest to make sure it's there in 10 or 15 years."

Birkenthal said the Olympic Sport and Soccer Center at Pendergast Park has been allowed to serve alcohol at events since 2008, and he said police haven't seen any public drunkenness or DUI incidents.

Three people wrote the city to protest the Ice Center serving alcohol in October, including Bremerton resident Cathie Knox-Browning, who Monday said she was still concerned about people drinking and driving past the YMCA and daycare facilities in the area.

"I'm concerned drivers will be impaired," she said. "Usually, beer and wine is allowed in more commercial areas."

She doesn’t think the alcohol at Pendergast Park compares, since it’s in a relatively isolated area.

If council approves alcohol sales at the ice center, Bremerton City Risk Management Specialist Thelma Swem said they'll have to add liquor liability coverage to their insurance, but it won't cost the city anything. She noted the ice rink's insurance coverage is currently in "good order."

City council will discuss the Bremerton Ice Center's request to serve alcohol at a March 28 study session and vote at its April 4 meeting.


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