Lehighton Borough Council rejected a request by a business in the town to serve two-ounce beer samples at Bike Nite in the Lehighton Borough Park on Aug. 10.
The rejection came when a motion to allow the beer samples died when no other council member would second it.
Council member Darryl Arner, who made the motion to allow it, remarked, "That's just a slap in the face to a local business person."
He's wrong. Just because a request made by someone to the council isn't approved doesn't mean the borough is acting negatively.
The borough has rules which state no alcohol is permitted in any borough park. Some council members said they don't know if the deeds to the park actually prohibit the alcohol consumption.
In other words, had approval been given, they might have been violating the borough's own regulations.
Also, could distribution of the samples be policed to make sure no under-age individuals are served, that vigilant carding of the samplers occurs, and that a precedent isn't set?
There is beer sold outside the borough park during Bike Nite, which will be held on Aug. 10. There's no reason why the brewer which wants to serve the samples can't find another site.
The proposal was made by Red Castle Brewery, which is located at Castle Grill on Bridge Street. The owner of Castle Grill, Frank Potoczak, is also one of the directors for Bike Nite.
Potoczak has been an asset to the borough, especially in regards to efforts to improve the downtown area. The rejection of allowing beer samples to be served at Bike Nite isn't personal nor should it be taken that way.
There are a lot of nearby businesses and organizations which sell beer during the Bike Nite. It doesn't have to be introduced in the borough park.
The council isn't hurting any business establishment by rejecting the request. It's acting responsibly in keeping the rules pertaining to the park intact.
When Bike Nite was formed by Ed Finney of Lehighton well over a decade ago, Finney assured it would be a family event. It has remained family oriented.
This isn't to imply that two-ounce beer samples would change that. It's just that if the council opens the door to alcohol in the park, will it be expanded to other parks such as Baer Memorial and the Community Grove?
Hopefully Potoczak will find another site for the samples. Knowing Potoczak personally, we're sure he'll do all he can to make sure the sampling is done responsibly.
"Responsibly" is a key word.
It's a word which describes how Lehighton Borough Council acted in handling the request.
By RON GOWER