Alerus Center, Ralph Engelstad Arena could sell booze off-site

GRAND FORKS — Managers at the Ralph Engelstad Arena and Alerus Center soon could be allowed to serve alcohol at events they sponsor outside those venues.

Grand Forks City Council members on Monday gave a preliminary thumbs-up to a measure that would allow the arena and the center to ask to serve alcohol at “approved events and locations” where either is organizing, developing and financing a sporting or entertainment event.

The council’s committee of the whole voted to put the matter before the council proper later this month.

The proposal, supporters said, would help the venues’ managers book acts that might otherwise be dwarfed by the arena or center, both of which seat thousands of people. The Ralph seats 11,000 and the Alerus Center about 21,000. Both traditionally bring in large concerts and other events that pack those venues.

But Bill Vasicek, a member of the Grand Forks Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, said the coalition is worried about the facilities’ managers serving alcohol at spaces such as the smaller ICON Sports Center, a youth ice arena on the city’s far south side.

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