Can you drink in the park?

HARLINGEN — For decades, a standing ordinance has banned drinking in the city’s parks.

There are some exceptions to the rule. And tonight, city commissioners will consider expanding on those exceptions.

So far, the city allows the sale and consumption of alcohol at events related to the city and nonprofit organizations at Lon C. Hill Park, McKelvey Park, Gutierrez Park and the H-E-B tennis courts at Pendleton Park.

Now, officials want to expand that to events related to the city and nonprofit organizations at Dixieland Park, Victor Park, Pendleton Park, the Wilson Sports Complex and the Harlingen Soccer Complex.

City Manager Dan Serna said the city is responding to requests from groups proposing events at the parks.

“We keep getting these requests and we keep sponsoring events so it was time to look at the ordinance and propose changes,” Serna said.

Javier Mendez, the city’s parks director, requested the city expand the number of parks where nonprofit organizations could hold events including alcohol sales and consumption.

“The Parks and Recreation Department on occasion has received requests to have city co-sponsored events at parks,” Mendez wrote in his request.

“Because the ordinance would not allow the sale or consumption of alcohol at certain parks, the events would either change venue or they would downsize the event.”