City Council OKs beer, wine concessions for Fort Missoula softball games, bans BYOB

The new softball complex includes a 5-plex and a 2-plex. (The Land Group Inc.)

Beer and wine will be sold at softball games at the new Fort Missoula Regional Park, but players and teams cannot bring their own alcohol, as has been the custom.

Missoula City Council members unanimously approved the new rules Monday night, as well as catering contracts with the Badlander and the Rhinoceros – two downtown bars – to provide the beer and wine concession.

Gone will be the BYOB culture at Missoula softball games and tournaments, as well as early morning drinking. The contracts say alcohol sales cannot begin before 11 a.m.

And because state rules say a caterer may only sell for three consecutive days, there will be no alcohol sales on Friday nights, traditionally the night reserved for Christian Softball League play at Fort Missoula. That group does not permit the use of alcohol at games.

Phase II of the regional park includes seven new softball fields, arranged in a traditional five-plex and two-plex. The county owns the land, while the city manages the programs, services and maintenance operations at the park.

In a memo to City Council members, Shirley Kinsey of Missoula Parks and Rec said conservative estimates put the city’s potential revenue from alcohol sales at about $20,000 per year.

The contracts to be signed with the Rhino and Badlander pay Parks and Rec 25 percent of the gross sales each day, provided those sales reach a minimum of $250. The concessionaires must provide daily sales reports to the city.

“Because this is a new program, it is difficult to estimate the revenue we will receive,” Kinsey said in her memo. (There was no presentation at Monday night’s meeting because the contracts were on the consent agenda.)

The daily hours of operation for beer and wine concessions on softball league nights will be from 6-10:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday; and 6-10:30 p.m., Sunday.

Daily hours of operations for beer and wine concessions on tournament weekends will be 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sunday.

The start time was the only question during Monday night’s meeting, when several council members double-checked with City Clerk Marty Rehbein to be certain she had moved the start of alcohol sales at tournaments to 11 a.m., rather than the originally proposed 9:30 a.m.

Parks and Rec wants 70-80 percent of the city’s revenue from alcohol sales to be used to enhance the softball complex for competitive state, regional and national tournaments, Kinsey said.

Priority purchases include scoreboards on every field (only the two championship fields now have scoreboards) and shade structures over the bleachers.

The contracts begin immediately after they’re signed and continue through Oct. 31; the terms run for three years. The Rhino and Badlander will split their days of operation to even out the moneymaking potential.

The city received three bids after releasing its Request for Services; the two bars selected for the job “best met the outcomes” outlined in the RFS, according to Kinsey.

Monday night’s action item drew no public comment.