Police stop alcohol drinkers on Main Street decks | ParkRecord.com

Police stop alcohol drinkers on Main Street decks

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Park City police officers during the Park City Kimball Arts Festival ordered a group of restaurants and nightclubs to stop allowing people to drink alcohol on second-story decks after 10 p.m., an unusual crackdown that the police said was needed to control the crowds.

Police Chief Wade Carpenter said large crowds gathered on the decks drinking alcohol and being noisy. The police officers on duty were worried that the situation could get out of hand, Carpenter said in an interview.

"Prior history has shown us we’ve had problems" when people are drinking alcohol on the decks, Carpenter said.

On Friday night, police officers went to places that serve alcohol and have decks telling them to stop allowing people to drink alcohol on the decks past 10 p.m., the police chief said. He said City Hall rules prohibit the practice.

On Saturday night and Sunday, the police enforced the rules when they received complaints about people on the decks, Carpenter said. Carpenter said the police officers did not issue tickets, though. He said he was not aware of the Police Department ordering any of the decks shut down.

Meanwhile, the police chief said, a group of 180 Marines on Main Street during the arts festival weekend heightened the concerns by the police.

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"We had huge numbers of people who were now out on the decks," Carpenter said, adding that the people had been drinking alcohol throughout the day.

The actions over the weekend targeted second-story decks on Main Street not the dining decks on the street level that some restaurants have recently built.

The police chief acknowledged that the weekend’s police actions received a "mixed review" from the establishments involved.

Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council briefly discussed the matter on Thursday night, but the elected officials were not scheduled to make decisions.

The police chief said he planned to meet with representatives from restaurants and nightclubs to discuss the issues as early as next week. It was not clear what sort of results could come from the upcoming talks between Carpenter and the industry.

Arts festival weekend is among the busiest three-day stretches of the year, and big crowds normally stay on Main Street into the nighttime hours.

Carpenter said the second-story decks have been problematic at other times as well. He recounted being hit by a snowball thrown by someone on a deck during the Sundance Film Festival in January. Others have been seen on a deck throwing necklaces to people below in the fashion of Mardi Gras.

Main Street has long been seen as the top shopping, dining and entertainment district in the Park City area, and police officers patrolling the street are normally busy on the weekends with the shenanigans of intoxicated people and other revelers.

The scene that the police describe over arts festival weekend, though, is unusual for the number of people reportedly involved and that it will result in further talks between the police and the restaurants and nightclubs so quickly.