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      Alcohol banned at three downtown Traverse City parks

      Traverse City Commissioners voted Monday night to approve an alcohol ban at three downtown city parks.

      City officials say the reason they banned alcohol at these parks is an increase in complaints from residents about a group of homeless people who are drinking and sleeping there overnight.

      The parks where the bans will take effect are Lay and Hannah Parks off union street and American Legion Park off Cass.

      Mayor Michael Estes tells 7&4 News that the growing homeless population in the area is becoming a huge concern for both city residents and officials. In fact he says banning alcohol is really a band-aide-fix for a much bigger problem.

      Estes says, â??It wasn't so bad in prior years when they didn't necessarily have any type of contact with the general public, but now they're out on the streets, they're begging for money. Now it's a confrontational issue and we do have to address it because it's a problem. The residents want it solved and we owe it to them to come up with some long term solutions.â??

      Traverse City Commissioners have decided to hold a study session, as early as next week, to discuss the issue in more detail.