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Savory may take over concession stand for Privateers games

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The city no longer will run the concession stand during Thousand Islands Privateers hockey games if the Watertown City Council goes along with the proposal tonight.

If the council agrees, Savory Beverages & Beyond will operate the concession stand at the games, Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said Friday. The local catering company would pay the city a fee to use the stand.

“It looks like everything is worked out,” the mayor said.

The arrangement with Savory would solve the dilemma that the city, the Privateers and Savory had as a result of a state Liquor Authority decision regarding the concession stand and the hockey games.

Mr. Graham would not provide details Friday afternoon about what will be discussed at the council meeting because he had not yet seen the agenda for tonight’s meeting. The agenda will be provided to the media this morning.

The Liquor Authority notified the city late last week that Savory must run the city’s concession stand at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds if it sells beer and wine at the games.

The city has operated the concession stand for the past two years.

On Tuesday night, council members were unable to vote on a new franchise agreement with the Federal Hockey League team until the matter was straightened out with the Liquor Authority. The council adjourned Tuesday’s meeting until today in hopes the matter would be cleared up.

On Thursday, Parks and Recreation Superintendent Erin E. Gardner met with Nicole J. Kirnan, owner of the Privateers, and Savory owner Steven A. Baytos to discuss having the catering company take over the concession stand.

The Liquor Authority gave the city until this Friday to work something out with Savory or the catering company no longer could sell beer and wine at the hockey games. That also would have created an economic hardship for the hockey team, city officials said. The Liquor Authority never gave an exact reason for the ruling that city officials called “confusing.”

Mr. Graham had said he hoped for the city to retain the concession stand because it was generating about $500 in revenue for each game and he did not want to lay off the part-time staff that works there.

William Crowley, the Liquor Authority’s director of public and legislative affairs, said in an email Friday that the agency is working with the city and Savory on the issue, but he did not explain why it took the stance about Savory’s involvement in selling alcohol.

Two years ago, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department took over the concession stand and upgraded it. Until this hockey season, the city lost money on the venture.

The council will meet at 7 this evening in the third-floor council chambers in City Hall, 245 Washington St.

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