Businessman Concerned About Spring Break Underage Drinking

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. A well-known businessman says he's concerned with the amount of underage drinking this Spring Break season.

Bill Buskell took his concerns to Panama City Beach City Council members, saying kids come to the beach to lose control.

Buskell wants the city to rethink its approach to spring break.

Pineapple Willie's and Wicked Wheel owner, Bill Buskell, went before Panama City Beach City Council members Thursday asking them to take back Spring Break.

"Concerned about minors overdrinking on the beach. Overserving kids. A lot of people have been injured. A lot of people have been killed on the beach. I think that we can control that," said Bill Buskell, Pineapple Willie's Owner.

Buskell has been in business at the beach for 40 years.

"I've had drink 'n drown. I've had the whole thing and cruises where we bring the buses down and feed all the minors drinks and all the same way, to make money," said Buskell.

He says the spring breakers get younger and rowdier each year. He believes it's the 18, 19 and 20 year old's, who are causing the problems.

He says people have an image of spring break as just a place to act up and do what they want.

But Buskell is also blaming those business owners that he says are only interested in making a buck, and not the long-term future of the city.

"Sharkys just had a big concert down there where they serve beer, how long was it? Six hours and 12 ounce cups and I saw it all. It was well controlled, but the kids were intoxicated and they left, they were poured in the buses and everything. And I just don't think that's what we're trying to do," said Buskell.

Last year city officials met with local businesses after Spring Break to get input on how they can all improve the event in the future. They say they plan to do that again this year.

Beach Mayor Gayle Oberst says everyone agrees their overall goal is to keep spring breakers safe and under control.

"And he's right on. We do want to better control spring break. We want a better quality; we want the kids to have a good time. And we want the kids to come that are interested in good times not into getting into trouble," said Gayle Oberst, Panama City Beach Mayor.

Buskell wants the city to change the direction of its Spring Break marketing, and hopes the council and community members will address the issue.


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