Japanese Friendship Garden Applying for Full Liquor License

If you live or work in the downtown Phoenix area, you may have noticed the big, florescent green sign sitting against a tree in front of the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix/Ro Ho En.

It turns out the city is applying for a full, annual liquor license for the Friendship Garden, according to Executive Director Susan McCall. (A representative at the state Department of Liquor Licenses and Control said the city is named as the applicant because the Friendship Garden is part of the city-owned Margaret T. Hance Park.)

A hearing before the Phoenix City Council is tentatively scheduled for February 22, at 3 p.m.

"Rather than spend a relatively large portion of our budget on these events each year we thought that the best way to do this was with an annual license," said McCall. "It's just much more cost efficient. The garden is growing; we've had a really lovely season so far."

Maybe the coolest part about the news is that the garden hopes to begin hosting small wedding receptions and corporate events in the future if a full license is granted, said McCall.

The full liquor license carries a one-time fee of approximately $2,300, according to McCall. The state Department of Liquor Licenses and Control also charges a $200 annual renewal fee. The temporary licenses cost approximately $350 to 400 each.

The garden is open every week between Tuesday and Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults.

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