Bill allows alcohol sales at TCF Bank stadium and other U of M venues

8:56 PM, Mar 28, 2012   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - The amenities at TCF Bank Stadium have been well documented, including the one that has been lacking.

But that could be changing.

The Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would allow the University of Minnesota to be the first Big Ten School to sell liquor to fans in general seating during a sporting event.

"I think we've reached a nice compromise and I think it will pass today," said State Representative Joe Hoppe.

The House is expected to vote on the bill this week, perhaps as soon as Thursday.

If passed and signed into law, it settles a debate that has been foaming since the stadium was built in 2009.

The U of M administration was reluctant to serve alcohol to students, but many fans wanted it.

"We're certainly supportive of the direction," said university spokesperson Chuck Tombarge. "This gives us the parameters to be able to balance the desires of the fans with responsible serving of alcohol."

Although it would be up the University Of Minnesota Board Of Regents, the bill allows alcohol to be served in suites and in a designated area like a beer garden.

"It will be an area folks will be checking IDs. Folks would need to consume the beverages at that site. They won't be roaming around the stadium," said Tombarge.

But not everyone is excited. Florence Littman lives near "The Bank" and worries more alcohol will mean more problems.

"You want people to have a good time. But on the other hand, you don't want your neighborhood destroyed by people drinking," she said.

Hoppe believes that won't be a problem.

"They're not going to tolerate people, they don't do it now, and they won't tolerate people who are drinking too much or abusing alcohol," he said.

'They' being the University which now is poised to serve alcohol and by doing so make upwards of $2 million in sales a year because of it.

"We think it's good for our fans," said Tombarge.

Tombarge believes the under the bill, alcohol could also be available in Williams and Mariucci Arenas.

The bill states, "no more than seven other locations within the boundaries of the University of Minnesota..." could serve alcohol if the board of regents approves it.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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