Keep alcohol out of Surfside Beach water park

March 27, 2013 

On the agenda for the Feb. 12 Surfside Beach Planning Commission meeting, there was a proposal to allow Wild Water and Wheels to serve “draft beer, wines, and frozen daiquiri drinks.”

It is my understanding that the proposal was temporarily withdrawn while Mr. Lazarus, the owner, concentrated on running for County Council chairman. Now that the election is over, the request to change restrictions will be revisited -- obviously a political move.

However, my letter is not to comment on Mr. Lazarus’ political strategies, but to ask that the citizens of Surfside Beach be made aware of this potentially dangerous proposal. Serving alcohol in a park aimed primarily at the entertainment of youth and children can create situations dangerous for children.

The request for revision of the recreational restrictions states that only adults 21 and over will be allowed in the area where alcohol is served. Ideally that might prevent those younger from using alcohol, but anyone who has worked with teens knows that they can manage to get around the rules. Even if the ideal is maintained and only adults are served, are those the parents who should be attending their children and who will be driving their children home after a few hours of sitting in the heat and drinking all afternoon ?

In Mr. Lazarus’ request, he states that his goal is for every guest to have a memorable experience. I submit that alcohol in youth parks can end in a less positive memory for the children exposed to individuals whose judgment (and thus behavior) has been impaired by consuming two or three alcoholic beverages and then getting in the water with teens and children.

Please, let’s protect our children and teens and those who live and drive in that area of Surfside Beach and vote down the proposed change in restrictions. Keep our water parks free of alcohol.

The writer lives in Surfside Beach.

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