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Looking in the Wright Direction: Alcohol at city events would encourage tourism

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By Stephanie Wright

Looking forward to having a nice craft beer while listening to music at Southwest Point Amphitheater when it opens?

It is not going to happen without your help.

Kingston City Council refuses to even have a discussion on a policy, much less an up or down vote.

You might be surprised to hear most cities do not make a dime off of actual alcohol sales.

Adding an ordinance of this nature is all about tourism.

Tourism should be our No. 1 priority, as it is what Kingston does best.

Harriman, Oak Ridge and Maryville have shown it can be done responsibly.

So what type of events could this be permitted for?

Oak Ridge just hosted the Nine Lakes Wine festival to a crowd of 1,500 visitors with a minimum ticket price of $55.

You can do the math on what was made by the 3-hour event.

In June, Maryville had Hops in The Hills at their amphitheater; tickets were $65. Many times, these events are even tied to a charity.

In September, Wine on the Water will be held in Knoxville to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

That event is $65 a ticket.

There have also been inquiries from race event organizers for post-race events with music and craft beer.

Again, it is not about beer sales. It is about having an event that draws in 1,000 people instead of 200.

A responsible policy can be drafted to include permit approval on a case by case basis.

Council can limit the amount of alcohol served, how long alcohol is served, and what city owned properties these events can be held at.

In a time when our city is continually struggling to balance the budget and keep services high, we should be using every tool in the toolbox to keep the burden off the property taxpayer.

Do not be a silent majority, let your representatives know.

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Stephanie Wright is a member of the Kingston City Council.