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Waterloo Park gets permission to sell alcohol

Friday, October 1, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Vendors will now be able to serve alcohol at Waterloo Park on a day-to-day basis following a decision Tuesday by the Planning Commission to approve a conditional use alcohol sales permit. 

“Waterloo Greenway looks forward to hosting many Austin community events and concerts that will offer food and beverage concessions,” said Melissa Ayala with Waterloo Greenway, the park’s nonprofit conservancy. 

Since the park’s reopening in August, alcohol has been served during concerts at Moody Amphitheater but only with temporary permits. Now, licensed food trucks and event vendors can sell alcohol without the need for a temporary permit. 

Ayala said the park has two spaces for resident local food trucks and that these vendors could sell alcohol “on a daily basis if ancillary to public programming and recreational use.”

The park plans to limit alcohol consumption to three areas: the Moody Amphitheater and the Great Lawn, where large concerts and other events take place; Lebermann Plaza, a smaller amphitheater-style event space; and the food truck plaza and deck area. Ayala said that the park will enforce these rules using “architectural barriers, signage and staffing.” 

Per city code, park visitors are not allowed to bring or consume their own alcoholic beverages in city parks. 

The Parks and Recreation Board also reviewed the park’s request to serve alcohol, voting 7-1 to recommend approval of the conditional use permit. 

The straightforward approval of alcohol sales at Waterloo Park stands in contrast to the parks board’s repeated rejection of alcohol sales at Zilker Cafe, whose proximity to Barton Springs made commissioners wary of offering alcohol there. The Planning Commission will get the final say on that case on either Oct. 12 or 26.

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