Alcohol at Auld Pavilion hits roadblock

By: Megan Palera

It was a slight victory for some Lincoln businesses Thursday when the city council blocked the sale of alcohol at the Auld Pavilion.

It wasn't a new conversation for the council and it wasn't the first time business owners took to the podium to speak out against it.

“This feels like a lot of give a little, take a lot, and then just keep taking. So it's absolutely wrong to compete on this basis with the private sector,” says Grand Manse Owner Monte Froehlich.

The Auld Pavilion in Antelope Park is a public building. If alcohol could be sold there, the Parks and Rec Department hopes it will increase rentals. In turn, it would generate more money to help maintain the historic building.

But in a city that already offers nearly 300 reception and banquet hall options, some businesses argue it's simply unfair.

“We're fine with free and open competition. We just don't believe it should come from the city and somebody that we help subsidize,” says Holiday Inn General Manager Troy Terwilliger.

It only costs $200 to rent the Auld and there's more than 100 free parking spaces just south of the building.

Parks and Rec Director Lynn Johnson says he understand their concerns which is why at Thursday's meeting he supported putting the issue on the indefinite pending list.

“We try to be very careful and very incremental in this decision making. We are not headed toward a situation where I can ever envision we'll be asking alcohol to be available at all facilities,” says Johnson.

Johnson expects it will take at least two months to gather more information and explore other options. One of those options could be to just raise the rental fee at the Auld.