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Midvale Journal

Upcoming Mural Festival to feature beer garden after recent council vote

Jun 04, 2024 12:03PM ● By Travis Barton

Beer gardens can now be allowed under certain conditions after the city council approved a code change to diversify the city’s events. This is an example of a separated beer garden. (Stock photo)

The annual Mural Festival on Main Street (July 8) will include a new feature this year, and it didn’t come easy.

By a tight 3-2 vote in April, the Midvale City Council approved an ordinance that would allow alcohol be publicly consumed in a controlled environment. Meaning beer gardens are now allowed at certain city events. 

Kate Andrus, the city’s RDA program manager, explained to the council in April this would provide an added experience to those attending city events, such as the upcoming festival. She said it would “activate” Main Street creating a controlled environment when appropriate for an event. 

Andrus gave examples such as the Ogden Twilight concert series, the Park City Arts Festival and the Moab Music Festival. In Midvale, staff mentioned possible opportunities for events on Main Street, the upcoming food truck plaza and certain events at Midvale City Park. The ordinance could also prove a draw for increased participation in city events. 

City Manager Matt Dahl said staff has pushed to bring in a variety of new events aiming to “engage with the diverse community that we have” attracting people who didn’t participate previously. “We want to make sure we have offerings for everyone in our

City staff presented two options to the council, option one allowed consumption on public property like parks and option two limited public consumption to Main Street. Both options required approved site plans for the event and compliance with state and local

Generally, residents seemed to agree on the ordinance being allowed for Main Street. There was pushback on allowing alcohol consumption at public parks, even under restricted circumstances. 

Brent Burgon shares a property line with City Park. He told the council during the meeting to do a phased approach: start with Main Street and if it goes well, broaden the scope to other locations. 

“Gain some experience before we open up the parks to alcohol consumption,” he said, asking the council to “consider a more disciplined approach to the proposed changes. Thing big, start small.” 

Councilmember Bryant Brown said he received more comments on this than anything before. He agreed with the phased approach to show this new option can work while understanding the community concern. 

“Show them it works rather than tell them it will,” said Brown, who grew up back east where beer gardens are lot more common, but understood this would be a “big change” for those long-term residents.  

Concerns such as increased public intoxication and garbage increases causing additional strain on city resources were reassured by staff. Responsible alcohol consumption creates little issue for police while public intoxication will remain illegal and enforced just as it would be regularly. Public works officials assured the council that whoever is in charge of the event would be responsible for cleanup. 

Councilmember Heidi Robinson said the city has pushed connectivity and walkability, questioning the legitimacy of the concerns. 

“We talk a lot about it, the vibrancy of the city,” she said. “This is a great way for us to connect Main Street with the park, with the possibility of some events that are very unique and offer some amazing community

“I would hate to see us limit ourselves based on possibilities that are honestly highly regulated events. These businesses are putting their business on the line, licenses on the line. This isn’t somebody having a keg at the park…I don’t want us to limit ourselves based on things that won’t be an issue.” 

Mayor Marcus Stevenson noted the city receives requests for more events all the time. This is a way, he said, to increase the capacity for other interested parties besides the city to hold events rather than stretch city resources. 

“I see it as an opportunity to expand some of the things we’re doing, to create what is that Midvale identity,” he said. 

Robinson and Councilmember Bonnie Billings voted in favor of the option to include parks while Brown and Councilmember Paul Glover preferred the phased approach. Councilmember Dustin Gettel was the swing vote in favor of option one. 

Dahl said new ideas will regularly come before the council. “We will continue to bring things to you that are going to look at how do we engage with populations that we haven’t before, those events might not be for