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Alcohol OK, animals not on 400 Block

Children play in the new 400 Block fountain donated by Asprius of Wausau, June 20, 2011
Children play in the new 400 Block fountain donated by Asprius of Wausau, June 20, 2011

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) – Wausau made the 400 Block a park Tuesday and agreed to let residents carry and drink alcohol on the sidewalk immediately around the downtown square.

The City Council agreed to carve out a permanent exemption from its ban on open consumption and possession of intoxicants to let residents carry drinks on the sidewalks. The move, said alderwoman Lisa Rasmussen, will provide more clarity for police officers who have to enforce city ordinances.

Anyone can drink in a city park. But the sidewalks around the block are in the public right-of-way and someone could be ticketed for holding or drinking an open intoxicant depending on where they stood, Rasmussen said.

City leaders also agreed to let anyone use the square anytime during the day. Most parks are closed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

But the Council took steps to ban animals from the park in response to complaints that dogs, in particular, have urinated on the square and that dogs could bite someone.

Council members also voted to ban most people from grilling on the block. Qualified non-profits can apply for an exception that city leaders will consider on a case-by-case basis.