Parks and recreation board rejects plan to sell beer and wine at Zilker Cafe for second time

Barton Springs Pool was empty during March's stay-at-home order. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Barton Springs Pool was empty during March's stay-at-home order. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Barton Springs Pool was empty during March's stay-at-home order. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

The Austin Parks and Recreation Board shot down a proposal to allow the sale of wine and beer at ZIlker Park.

On Sept. 28, the advisory board voted to recommend the Austin Planning Commission not move forward with a proposal to allow alcohol sales at Zilker Cafe.

The board previously voted on the issue in June with the same outcome but decided to bring the idea forward again as two members were absent and three seats were vacant from the 11-member group.

Prior to the board’s discussion, several community members, including current staff, spoke against the potential sale of alcohol at the venue, citing concerns about possible dangers of drinking before swimming or supervising children.

“I’m having a hard time understanding the motivation in the first place,” board member Lisa Hugman said.

She went on to express her appreciation for the community members who have either spoken to the board or written them about this issue.

Parks and Recreation Director Kimberly McNeely said the proposal to seek a conditional use permit—essentially seeking permission to allow the ZIlker Cafe to sell alcohol when it is normally not allowed in parks—began several years ago and had support at the time.

She also expressed frustration with the process, which has brought her—and community members wanting to weigh in on the issue—in front of the board again.

Most of the board members agreed that alcohol sales were either too dangerous or not needed at the park with only Nina Rinaldi expressing any interest in the proposal.

Ultimately, the board voted 8-1 to recommend against seeking permission for the Zliker Cafe to sell alcohol.


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