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Rosendale officials strive to protect public drinking.

The town of Rosendale is mulling an open container law, to prohibit the consumption of alcohol in public places. A draft based on a similar New Paltz ordinance was proposed by police chief Perry Soule. “Someone could walk down Main Street right now, with a bottle of beer, or a bottle of liquor,” noted supervisor Patrick McDonough.

Councilman Ken Hassett took umbrage at the draconian wording in the draft law. “If we would adopt this as it reads right now,” Hassett said, “even if somebody were to have a picnic here at the Rec Center under the pavilion, have a six-pack of beer, you can’t do that.”

Other considerations are the Street Festival, which traditionally has alcohol vending, and also the tendency of locals to drink on town parkland property. Hassett used the current Joppenberg issue as an example. “Theoretically somebody might want to go up on the mountain and sip a beer, carry it in and carry it out. Who are we to say they can’t do that?” Concluded Hassett, “if that is the case, this definitely is a police state.” He recommended lightening up the law’s verbage, “it may need some tweaks or whatever.”

McDonough acknowledged regular drinking at the baseball field. “The other problem we have is bottles and cans and the like that are left down here during softball season,” he said. “So we have to address it in such a way that if we want to allow people to drink a beer at the park, they can do that, but then also address the mess that we have to deal with.” Recently the town put the recycle bins near the bleachers,

“Personally I’m in favor of allowing people to have some beer in the park,” McDonough clarified. “I want to make sure that we’re not over-doing it.” Councilman Richard Minissali expressed sarcastic amusement at the status quo. “I’m shocked that there’s beer consumption at the softball field,” he remarked.

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