Albany reconsiders alcohol laws for outside events

Posted at: 03/18/2014 5:20 PM
Updated at: 03/18/2014 8:31 PM
By: Abigail Bleck

ALBANY -- Its location and name make McGeary's in downtown Albany a St. Paddy's Parade Day destination.  Because the bar is so popular during events, the bouncers are trained in crowd control and the servers behind the bar have -- and do-- cut off people who have had too much to drink.

"We were really crowded this year.  It was a nice crowd and I redirected people all day long. For the most part we had a great St.  Patrick's day," says Tess Collins of McGeary's.

But outside, on event days, it's a different story.  Fighting, urinating, defecating and general rowdy behavior take over Albany's downtown because attendees fill backpacks and coolers with beer and are allowed to drink, for hours on end, unsupervised and in some instances, underage.

"We have to make sure these are events that are safe for residents, safe for people who come and safe for our police officers," explains Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.

Mayor Sheehan says she is working with the Albany Police Chief, Steve Krokoff, to better enforce the city's open container law.  The administration is also evaluating if alcohol permits -- for large, outside events like parades, Lark Fest, Tulip Festival and Capital Pride -- should even be granted.

"What image do we want to project for our city?  How do we want people treating our city," questions Mayor Sheehan.  "This is a wonderful, historic capital city and it should be treated with respect."

Ending the alcohol fueled events is something even some behind the bar are willing to get behind. 

"If they are going to go stricter I have no issue with it, I applaud them for it," adds Collins.

On Saturday, Albany Police arrested five people along the parade route.  There were also four ancillary arrests, following the parade and one DWI.