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A beer is poured at the Southern Brewers Festival at Ross's Landing on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The annual craft beer festival benefits Kids on the Block and other local nonprofit organizations.
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Public Works Director Lee Norris
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Chip Baker, executive director of Friends of the Festival, speaks at a news conference Friday morning regarding the tobacco policy at Riverbend. After criticism from health officials for allowing tobacco vendors to advertise to minors, Friends of the Festival alongside Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department announced the expansion of no smoking areas at the 2011 Riverbend Festival. Staff Photo by Jenna Walker/Chattanooga Times Free Press
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PHOTO BY PAUL LEACH From left, Hamilton County commissioners Joe Graham, Warren Mackey and Marty Haynes discuss a proposed $45 victims' assistance fee that courts may order criminals to pay. Revenues generated by the fee will support Partnership for Families, Children and Adults and the Children's Advocacy Center of Hamilton County.

A proposal to allow limited alcohol sales at some Hamilton County parks has quietly hit a roadblock.

On Wednesday, the Hamilton County Commission could have voted whether to repeal a 1984 restriction on the sale and consumption of alcohol at Chester Frost Park, Riverpark and Enterprise South Nature Park and allow those activities for approved special events.

Instead, the measure died when it failed to generate a second motion or public discussion after Commissioner Joe Graham motioned to vote on the matter.

"I just wanted to get it on the table for an up-or-down vote," Graham said after the meeting.

Hamilton County Administrator of General Services Lee Norris, who presented the idea to commissioners last week, had no comment after the silent response the measure received when it came time to vote.

During the presentation, Norris said stringent regulations governing special alcohol sale permits served as an underlying strength of a process in which an overseeing committee would approve or deny requests for certain events. Norris cited school reunions and wedding receptions as examples of events envisioned by the measure.

"The revenue to be generated by the special event permits and stuff would be additional revenue to the county that I anticipate would be collected back into the park system," Norris said.

Riverbend Executive Director Chip Baker, who attended the meeting, afterward said the lack of action surprised him.

He praised the idea of starting small and building on successes with careful planning, adding that he saw potential for larger events requiring only a portion of a targeted park.

"Beer sales would only be a small percentage of sales, but they are a necessary ingredient for a successful event," Baker said.

He also expressed interest in serving on the proposed special events committee and possibly organizing events at county parks.

Commissioners appear divided on the issue.

They also voted 8-0 to defer a vote to establish a parks special events committee, which would coordinate alcohol permitting, for 30 days.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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