City leaders are working to extend a ban on outside alcoholic beverages at the Boulder Reservoir on the Fourth of July through 2015.
City Manager Jane Brautigam has proposed a rule to limit alcohol consumption during the next two Fourth of July holidays at the reservoir, an extension of a 2013 pilot program that was designed to reduce crowds and heavy drinking on the popular holiday, Boulder officials announced Wednesday.
Brautigam has proposed a non-emergency rule that is intended to "provide a safe, family friendly environment by decreasing the potential for alcohol overuse and overcrowding," according to a news release.
The proposed rule — which could be adopted following a public comment period that ends April 10 — states that "no person shall possess, serve, sell or consume alcoholic beverages at the Boulder Reservoir on July 4, 2014, and July 4, 2015."
The change would not apply to groups that may be granted permission to consume alcohol or participants who obtain special event liquor permits.
Like last year, the reservoir will again host activities such as a sand volleyball tournament, several running events and more, city spokesman Patrick von Keyserling.
"It's a great opportunity to come out and spend the day at the Boulder Reservoir with a family friendly environment, enjoying the water and the activities and then make it downtown for fireworks," von Keyserling said.
'We anticipate a similar result'
Last year, the Boulder Parks and Recreation Department initiated a pilot program to limit alcohol at the reservoir, which was open from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on July 4 for a sand volleyball tournament, 5K run/walk, 1-mile run and live music.
Entry fees also were raised to $15 per person on the Fourth, though children under age 12 were admitted for free. That increase was up from the normal entry fee of $6.25 per adult and $3.75 for children ages 3-18.
Fees for this July 4 have not yet been finalized, von Keyserling said.
Parks officials estimated that 10,000 people were at the reservoir for the Fourth of July in 2012. That's likely because the annual Ralphie's Independence Day Blast fireworks show at the University of Colorado's Folsom Field was cancelled over wildfire concerns, von Keyserling said.
In contrast, 1,000 people came to the reservoir on July 4 last year, von Keyserling said.
"We anticipate a similar result this year," he said. "We're hoping for good weather so that everybody can show up at Folsom Field. We're keeping our fingers crossed it doesn't rain and it's not too dry for fireworks."
For the second year in a row, people celebrating at the reservoir will have access to a beer garden provided by the nonprofit organization Your Cause Sports.
'Not what I pay taxes for'
At least some Boulder residents weren't happy with the city's proposal, including Nate King, who said he'll celebrate the Fourth of July with a concert this year.
King said he's frustrated with the proposed rule because city officials shouldn't be discouraging people from celebrating at the reservoir.
"Boulder has one body of water that is absolutely beautiful," he said. "It would make sense that thousands of people would flock to it on a holiday. It is clear that the city of Boulder is limiting outside alcohol to prevent large crowds because it is in their interest to not manage an event of that size.
"That's not what I pay taxes for."
Sean Brady owns a tech company in Boulder and said he sees the rule as another recent example of overreach by the city.
Brady pointed to Boulder's installation of three surveillance cameras on the Municipal Campus and the restoration of jail time for municipal offenses such as camping and littering.
"It is not up to Boulder's City Council to tell us how we should live," he said. "I don't see why the city has to impose any of these kinds of rules."
Boulder Community Hospital worker Craig Milder said he's in favor of the rule because he believes alcohol causes problems.
"I've just seen so many people on alcohol and just the way they act," he said. "(As) a non-drinker, I can't tolerate it."
The public comment period for the proposed rule ends 5 p.m. April 10. Copies of the proposal are available to the public at the Central Records office at 1777 Broadway, according to the release.
Written comments about the rule can be sent to Sally Dieterich at email@example.com.