SAN ANGELO, TX — The Texas Bank Sports Complex, 1615 Rio Concho Dr., is a popular venue for league softball and baseball tournaments. At the end of May during a softball tournament with many out-of-town teams there participating, a gunman opened fire.
Witnesses told police that San Angelo resident Eliseo Rivera, Jr, 23, fired two shots into the ground. Ricocheting shrapnel from the gunfire injured three adult males and a child, police said. Rivera was charged with four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Alcohol use was out of control at the sports complex, several witnesses told us. Under their breath, some told of widespread drug use as well, usually in the parking lot. The shooting incident highlighted the drinking problem and now the City is considering more restrictions on alcohol use and sales at the complex.
The parking lot is the focus of the restrictions on booze proposed for Thursday’s City Council meeting. Currently, the City Ordinance bans any person, firm, company, organization or corporation to “sell, consume or possess, or to permit or promote the selling, consuming or possessing, of any alcoholic beverage within the fenced-in areas of the quadrangles of the Texas Bank Sports Complex in the city.”
Thursday’s council meeting will be a public hearing about an ordinance change that will extend the booze ban for the entire sports complex property. The City Parks and Recreation Department proposes to add other areas of the property to include the parking lot and the park located inside the complex. The specific wording change to the ordinance widens the area of where booze will be banned to include the parking lots serving the complex and the picnic and play areas.
The ban on booze will not prohibit the City concessionaire from selling beer and wine at events held at the complex in designated areas inside the quadrangles during “adult tournaments” when no youth tournament is scheduled.
City Recreation Director Brent Casey wrote the City Council that there could be backlash over the stricter alcohol rules.
“Not allowing participants to consume alcohol after games in the parking lot may lower the number of teams participating in league play,” White wrote.
The Parks and Recreation Board also expressed concerns about the ban, as there are campers who spend the night at the complex during tournaments. The campers are usually located in the parking lot.
Sports tourism has a large impact on the San Angelo hospitality economy. When large tournaments are held at the Sports Complex, local hotels and restaurants fill up. San Angelo competes with Midland, Abilene, Lubbock and various cities in and around the DFW Metroplex to hold tournaments here. Tournaments are organized by promoters and/or specific leagues across the country.
July 8 during the City Council meeting at the McNease Convention Center will be the first public hearing on the ordinance changes. The meeting starts at 8:30 a.m.
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