No more pop machines in parks?


If you want to drink pop in a city park, you might have to bring your own. When the Minneapolis Park and Rec board recently started discussing the possibilities for a new beverage contract (its five-year contract, with Coca Cola, was set to expire) it sparked a debate about pop in parks.

 Reporting from the meeting, the Southwest Journal passed on the personal pop preferences of a few of the commissioners:

Commissioner Annie Young wants pop out of the parks. She sees the combination of caffeine and heavy amounts of sugar as dangerous. While she admits to having some bad health habits herself, drinking pop isn't one of them.

Commissioner Jon Olson, the owner of several Dairy Queen locations, sells pop for a living.

Commissioner Scott Vreeland said he's drunk maybe three pops in 20 years. He prefers juice, and for the moments he craves less sugar, he drinks water. But no pop.


Specifics about the commissioners' sugar cravings felt like a little too-much-information, but I think the article raises a good question:

One of the Park Board's main missions, laid out in its comprehensive plan, is to promote healthy [sic] lifestyles...When the park system is writing grants to boost healthiness, should it also be selling pop at the same time?

In the end, Park and Rec general manager Don Siggelkow decided to extend the park system's current contract, with Coca Cola, for a year to allow more time for discussion.

I'm going to side with the curmudgeons on this one--I think the pop machines should go, just as they have in schools. With our country on the verge of a massive obesity crisis, there's no reason to vend pop in parks--it contradicts the healthful message they're trying to promote. Just don't ask me to use that logic to defend my deep-fried fish and pitchers of beer at Sea Salt...