San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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INTERVIEWS AND PHOTOS by KOLTEN PARKER

This is Day 2 of our man-on-the-river interviews about proposed new San Marcos parks rules, including a ban on alcohol. The council is scheduled to vote on the measures Tuesday, April 3:

MARK PENA

“This is a place where people come to relax. Taking away drinking and possibly barbecue grills will leave a lot of people who come here bored, and bored people get into trouble.”

— MARK PENA, who visits about three times a week

TAYLOR TUCKER

“The problem is irresponsible people. I clean up after myself, if everyone did that the city wouldn’t be talking about this. As a finance major I look at this issue from an economic perspective: Is this just another scheme for the city to pull in revenue from tickets and fines?”

— Finance senior TAYLOR TUCKER, 23

KYLE CHASSIN

“I think the city should be more worried about littering. I’m more okay with them doubling the (littering) fines but I don‚}t agree with them banning alcohol. … I haven’t ever seen any fights or anything like that at the parks.”

— KYLE CHASSIN, studio art freshman

APRIL CHESAK

“I can see why they would do it. I understand residents don’t like the trash or drunk driving but I don’t think this will mitigate the problem.”

— APRIL CHESAK, 24

CHRISTOPHER SCOTT

“People don’t come to the river to get drunk and be violent. They come to have a good time and relax. I don’t see the council members down here anyways.”

— CHRISTOPHER SCOTT, 22

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11 thoughts on “Verbatim: More river folks on proposed parks rules

  1. I am I the only one who finds it odd that at least 3 of the five statements come from people at TSU’s Sewell Park? A park which is governed by the university and not the City of San Marcos.

  2. Steven, They were interviewed at Sewell but we were clear we were talking about city parks. I think we’re spreading out more down the river after these first two days and look forward to mixing it up a little bit more in terms of the people we find.

  3. I miss the days of watching people puke all over themselves at 5-mile. How are things looking out there these days? I can’t remember, but I thought they banned alcohol. I could definitely be wrong.

    On the other hand, how much do we pay Ken Bell and his staff? How many arrests does the typical SMPD officer make in a year? How much did we pay, for the 40 (I think it was 40) arrests in the parks? Are we really not able to make any more headway, without a ban? Will a ban somehow, magically, increase our enforcement capacity?

  4. I hope everyone realizes that we already have laws and ordinances on the books that address drinking in public and intoxication, and littering. Can we please quit trying to pass more laws and use the ones that already exist. Even if we have to double the fines, just stop passing this stuff and stick to what already exist!

  5. Texas State bans alcohol at Sewell Park. The county banned alcohol at 5-Mile dam just before they closed that park for repairs and construction of the new sports complex. So the people who used to go to 5-mile migrated to the newly renovated Rio Vista Falls.

    The layout of 5-mile dam lends itself to the practice of packing up your personal grill and a shade tent and coolers full of food and beer and spending all day by the water eating and drinking. That just doesn’t work at Rio Vista. The triangle between Cheatham and the river has about a half dozen tables and grills. With groups at each table and the line of people waiting for the Lions Club tube pickup, Rio Vista is a nice place to hangout. When you add in a dozen shade tents and personal grills, there is hardly room to move. Meanwhile, the lawn that fronts CM Allen is almost unused because everybody wants to be by the water even if they don’t get in the water.

    I think most of the problems could be solved by banning tents and personal grills in the triangle between Cheatham and the river and also on the slope on the other side of the river. And then if drunken fights continue to be a problem, have SMPD (not the park rangers) set up sobriety checkpoints on the weekends at key exit points.

  6. Suzanne has a good suggestion – ease into restrictions that solve the main problem, which is over-crowding. Alcohol is no doubt a major factor but any time you get people packed that tight (unless it’s a church and they’re filled with the spirit), you’re gonna have trouble. Push the booze, tents and grills out to the lawn and you’ll motivate folks to occupy that under-utilized area. Plus the city could install a few more picnic tables and small canopies.

    I remember when I first moved here, back in ’95. Folks would always mention 5 Mile with a snicker, a wink or an eye-roll because the reputation was so bad. That’s where you went to get wasted. I went a few times but I have learned to recognize mine-fields so I quit going.

    As a drinker I understand the knee-jerk reaction to a ban on booze but spend a few hours at Rio Vista on a nice Saturday and ask yourself if we’re fostering an environment that allows all types of people to come and have a good time.

  7. do the people in the restaurants that have river frontage still get to drink. but left to our OWN choices to not visit these establishments we are limited and eventually banned.

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