Melissa Millecam, spokeswoman for the City of San Marcos, discusses the town’s recent ban on alcohol in its parks and what changes residents can expect it to bring.
WS: What positive changes do you hope to see come from the recent ban on the display of alcohol in San Marcos city parks?
MM: The new rules are intended to increase the safety and family-friendly character of San Marcos city parks by reducing the number of alcohol-related incidents and accidents.
WS: What were the main concerns that prompted the city to act on this issue?
MM: The alcohol ban in city parks is comparable to rules in place for university, county and state parks. It was prompted by the number of disturbances, injuries and arrests related to alcohol. The other rules were prompted by the need to protect a significant environmental resource. Again, we are striving to create a family-friendly and safe experience in our parks.
WS: What was the biggest challenge the city faced when putting the new regulations in place?
MM: The city is striving to get the word out to park patrons and community organizations now in preparation for our busy summer season. We are getting the most questions at this point about the rules on spear fishing.
WS: Do you think this law will result in a lack of tourism revenue?
MM: No. San Marcos parks are exceptionally beautiful, popular and wonderful amenities in our community. We have more than 1,700 acres of parks and green spaces that attract tens of thousands of visitors and residents during the year. Enhancing a family-friendly environment in conjunction with active water features, responding to the needs of differing users by our rules, will promote an overall wonderful experience for tourists. This area and the river have attracted human beings for some 12,000 years, and we expect this will continue.
WS: In your opinion, how has the local community responded to this action?
MM: It’s a little early to tell. Our park ranger conversations with people one-on-one so far are pretty positive. They see the need to control alcohol and eliminate litter and Styrofoam in the river system. We will get more feedback in the coming months as park and river use increases.