WILLIAMSON – Since the Williamson Fieldhouse first opened up in 1950 it has been the site of many entertaining events.
For years the concession rights were owned by private individuals. However, last year the Williamson Park Board purchased those rights and now has control of what is sold at the historic building.
Now that the Park Board will profit from the concession sales, the decision was recently made to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages during certain adult events. This will not include any activities – especially sporting events – that are for Buddy League, middle school and high school games or tournaments.
However, like with this weekend’s annual Rough and Rowdy Brawl, the Park Board will have a separate concession stand set up to sell beer.
“We know that this might not be well-received at first by some citizens,” said Fieldhouse Director Brandon Ball.
Apparently some individuals are already sneaking beer into the Fieldhouse for certain events.
“During some events, after we go cleanup, there are already alcoholic beverage cans,” Ball said. “Our thinking is that we might as well benefit from it.”
Ball said that he and the Park Board realize there may be some opposition to this move, but he thinks in the long run it will be beneficial.
“There is no way it will be allowed at any school events,” Ball stressed. “It will only be for adult activities. Like the comedy shows and Rough and Rowdy. They will have to show proper ID and wear an arm band. We will also have extra security if needed.”
“All of the money that will be made from these sales will go back into the Fieldhouse and be spent for the children of this community,” he said. “We hope to fix the lights at the softball park and have several other projects that need funds. We are hoping to get new windows for the Fieldhouse too.”
The outside and trim of the historic building was recently painted maroon and gray and a new white coating put on the roof to stop leaks.
Plans to remodel the bathrooms are in the works. Ball said he hopes to see that project start within a month. The women’s bathroom is the first priority, Ball added.
Ball said he wanted to thank the WHS Reunion Committee for their recent donation and the family of the late Jim Reid for another donation. The Fieldhouse also received a donation from the Williamson Middle School to help with renovations.
“I understand that this might not be a popular decision,” Ball said. “But we are going to do it responsibly and it will be controlled.”
Ball also said that when the Fieldhouse is rented out for events like this year’s Williamson High School All-Class reunion in September, that they will be able to sell alcoholic beverages at that type of function as well.
Other events scheduled in the coming months are the Cause for Paws race on Feb. 16, a Sock Hop on Feb. 27, a kids Super Hero picture and autograph event on March 26, Girl’s Night Out on April 1, the U.K. baton twirlers camp on April 16 and the annual Relay for Life on June 17. Ball also has applied to the WVSSAC in hopes of hosting some sectional or regional tournament games, but has not heard back on the requests at this time.
Here are the Williamson Park Board policies for alcohol sales:
• The Williamson Board of Parks and Recreation has applied and received W.Va. beer license for limited adult oriented events at the Fieldhouse.
• Appropriate law enforcement will be hired and present at all events involving the sale of alcohol.
• Off duty law enforcement officers will be hired to require age identification and documentation before the sale of alcoholic beverages.
• A maximum of two alcoholic beverages will be sold to any one person at a single transaction.
• Alcohol sales will be terminated at least one hour before the end of the adult oriented event.
• Food vendors will be present at all adult oriented events selling alcoholic beverages.
• The Park Board would contractually disallow stamps or passes that would allow attendees to exit and re-enter events.
• Under no circumstances would the Park Board endorse or permit the sale of alcoholic beverages at any Little League, middle school or high school event or any other family type of occasion.
Ball said he hopes that those who may have second thoughts about this decision will understand that it is a way to help the Park Board make some profits and they can use the funds for much-needed improvements of all the facilities they have in West Williamson.
“We don’t have much revenue coming in,” Ball added. “This is a way to generate some money for the Park Board.”
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)