The idea that event spectators at the proposed Greenwood Iceplex could buy beer or wine at hockey tournaments have nearby residents worried, but the developer says alcohol sales aren’t intended to be a major part of the business plan.
Included in plans for the 115,000 square foot complex is a cafeteria style restaurant which could serve alcohol, according to the developers.
Before any alcohol could be sold, the company would have to get an alcohol sales permit through a detailed process that can include a public hearing, where the concerns of residents are given much consideration.
The potential for alcohol sales in a public park surrounded by a water park, middle school, church and hundreds of homes has nearby residents concerned.
“I believe it would contribute to rowdy behavior in the park and unsafe driving practices,” said Kristy Matthews, a resident of nearby Brighton Estates.
Minor-league hockey team Indy Fuel owners Jim and Sean Hallett have proposed the Greenwood Iceplex with up to four ice rinks to be built on 6 acres at Freedom Park. They have requested a five-year, $450,000 property tax break, and the city also has offered to lease the land to them for $1 a month for 60 years.
“Add in alcohol sales and out-of-town visitors who aren’t familiar with the area and you are asking for some trouble,” nearby resident Heather Garrett said.
How the alcohol license will be used hasn’t been determined yet, but it’s unlikely alcohol will be sold during daytime hours or seven days a week, Sean Hallett said.
“I’m not sure how we will incorporate it, but we do want the opportunity to serve it,” he said.
The Halletts also have a two-way alcohol license for the Fuel Tank, a two-rink complex they own in Fischers. The permit allows them to sell beer and wine, but not liquor. Alcohol is not part of the concession menu and isn’t served on a regular basis there, he said.
“These are developing businesses,” he said. “When we say we are applying for a two-way permit, it’s not set in stone that we will be serving beer and wine, but that option will be available to us.”
Each Indiana city has a set amount of alcohol sale permits allowed based on its population. Of the 34 beer and wine permits for restaurants allotted to Greenwood, 13 are available, according to the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.
Three-way permits, which also allow the sale of liquor, are more popular. All of the 34 three-way permits for restaurants in Greenwood are taken, according to the commission.
Hallett said they have no intention of selling liquor, and they wouldn’t apply for a three-way permit if one became available.
To get a permit, the Halletts will need to apply to the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission and receive approval from both a local and state board. An application typically takes 10 to 12 weeks, according to the commission.
In determining whether to grant a request for a permit, board members are directed by state law to consider the need for such services at the location, the desire of the neighborhood or the community to receive such services, the impact of such services on other business in the neighborhood or community and the impact of such services on the neighborhood or community.
A four-member local board will vote on whether to recommend issuing the permit. Three of the board members are appointed by local governments, while the fourth is appointed by the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission. The state board will make the final decision on whether a permit will be issued.
Because the Halletts will be renting park land, city rules require them to get permission from the Greenwood Board of Parks and Recreation to have alcohol sales. The park board is also allowed to place restrictions on how alcohol can be used at the site, according to the Greenwood legal department.
Alcohol sales have been allowed on park property for past events such as WAMMfest.
Pushback from residents resulted in the state denying a request for an alcohol permit at a gas station in Greenwood last year. Circle K had requested a transfer of one of its other alcohol permits to a new gas station built at 2114 Sheek Road. That transfer was initially approved by a local board, but after residents gathered nearly 800 signatures from people living nearby, a state board decided to deny the permit.