Bay Sox Set to Sell Beer and Wine This Summer
Beginning June 4, beer and wine will be available for purchase at 2016 New Bedford Bay Sox home games after a unanimous vote of support by the New Bedford City Council.
During Thursday night's meeting, the council approved the transfer of Paul Walsh Field from the New Bedford School Committee, allowing sales of alcohol.
Under Massachusetts law, alcohol is forbidden on school property.
Bay Sox owner and president Pat O'Connor referred the council's support as an endorsement of what the team has done for the city and it's commitment to the community.
"If you put it all together, it's more than a dollars and cents question," O'Connor said. "It's about building the community."
Several councilors admitted they were initially against the idea of alcohol sales so close to New Bedford High School and Keith Middle School. However, after some compromise and added safeguards, the trial is set to begin next month.
"The way the (Committee on City Property) really looked at this and tried to develop safeguards for the purpose of ensuring that this license would be handled appropriately was brilliant," said Ward 1 Councilor Jim Oliveira, who also serves as chair on the Committee on City Property.
In order for the team to continue sales throughout the summer, the School Committee must vote by June 14 to accept the land back from the city effective September 6. If they committee fails to vote, the beer and wine license would be null and void.
If advanced through the School Committee, the Council has the authority to revoke the license at any point during the season.
The Bay Sox will play 22 home games at Paul Walsh Field.
Under approval, beer and wine will be served in a fenced-in 3,000 sq. ft. area along the first base line under strict supervision.