LITTLE ROCK — The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board on Wednesday granted a request by Magic Springs & Crystal Falls amusement park in Hot Springs to add a new location inside the park where beer and alcohol can be served.

LITTLE ROCK — The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board on Wednesday granted a request by Magic Springs & Crystal Falls amusement park in Hot Springs to add a new location inside the park where beer and alcohol can be served.

The five-member board voted 3-1 to overturn a Dec. 15 ruling by ABC Director Michael Langley that denied the park’s request to change its alcohol permit to allow beer and wine sales at a restaurant in the park called Shark Bites, which seats about 25 people. The permit also will be changed to reflect that the park’s management has changed.

Board Chairman Mickey Powell of Batesville cast the only “no” vote. Member Jean Hervey of Plumerville left before the vote.

Steve Honeycutt, the park’s general manager, said the park already sells beer and wine at five locations on the premises. Two other locations are authorized for alcohol sales but are not being used, and there are no plans to start using them, he said.

The board’s meeting room was packed for Wednesday’s hearing. The Christian conservative Family Council, several churches and a number of area residents opposed the park’s request.

“I don’t want anybody throwing up on my kids,” said Garland County resident David Jennings.

David Pate of The Watchmen of Garland County, a coalition of Garland County churches, said the park appeared to be catering to adults at the expense of children.

“Alcohol is not necessary for Magic Springs to survive. Kids are,” he said.

Hot Springs resident Summer Marroquin said she formerly worked at the park for about a year and served alcohol to minors while on the job.

“How is that secure when I done that myself?” she said.

“So you knowingly violated the laws of the state of Arkansas?” Powell asked.

“Yes I have,” Marroquin said, adding that she is a “former addict.”

Family Council President Jerry Cox said that with alcohol already being sold at five locations in an 88-acre park, “I believe what they already have is enough” to serve customers’ needs.

Honeycutt said the park needs flexibility because the flow of foot traffic changes as the park changes.

The Hot Springs Board of Directors sent the ABC Board a letter expressing support for the park’s request.

State Sen. Bill Sample, R-Hot Springs, and former Hot Springs mayor and state legislator Bill Mathis spoke in support of the request.

Sample said the park has had no ABC violations since it began serving alcohol in 2004. The local sheriff and police chief did not oppose the request, he said.

“Garland County and the city of Hot Springs are tourist destinations, and Magic Springs is just one reason people choose to visit,” he said. “Magic Springs has always been a good corporate neighbor.”

Mathis said the park employs between 500 and 600 people every summer, many of them young people earning money for college.

“It’s a great boon for our city for all these young people to have these jobs,” he said.

Powell told Honeycutt to make sure the park’s employees are well trained. He told him that if the park decides in the future it wants to serve more than 25 people at Shark Bites, it will need to ask the board for permission.

Also Wednesday, the board approved beer sales at Dollar General stores in Fountain Lake, Gurdon, Texarkana, Osceola and Trumann, and at the Hometown Store in Springdale.