Man Says Changing Bigfork's Alcohol Law Could Save Sliter - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Man Says Changing Bigfork's Alcohol Law Could Save Sliter

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BIGFORK -

In order to save a park, a Bigfork group is asking the county for more lax alcohol laws.

"We want to turn it into a park that's treated equally with other parks," said Paul Mutascio, the President of the Community Foundation for a Better Bigfork.

You're not allowed to bring alcohol into Sliter Park or anywhere in downtown Bigfork.

Mutascio thinks if some flexibility could be worked into the law, the park could get a lot more use.

He says a lot of special events really rely on alcohol.

"We have to be realistic about it," said Mutascio, "That's what helps attract people to those events and makes them successful."

Keeping the park open as it stands is hard. The county leases it from PacifiCorp for about $7,500 per year. It's not easy coming up with that money, but Mutascio told the Flathead County Board of Commissioners that the park usage fee from events that would serve alcohol would really be a game changer.

If the change goes through, the park could host its fair share of weddings and really make use of the Riverbend Stage.

"We don't want Bigfork to turn back into the wild party town it was in the 1990s. That resolution was approved in 1990 due to a lot of bad behavior," said Mutascio.

Mutascio says they're not asking to allow open containers, but rather to permit alcohol to be served in this public area through licensed caterers, with security and insurance in place.

The final say is with the county commissioners, and they haven't said when they'll make a decision.

Bigfork's original open container law dates back to the 1970s.

In 1990, the county commissioners expanded the rule, and included part of Montana Highway 35.

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