Akron Plans Expansion of Downtown Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA)

AKRON, Ohio – Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan has submitted a request to the Akron City Council to expand the city’s Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) downtown.

Approved in May 2020, DORA is a specific area where alcoholic beverages can be purchased from licensed establishments and consumed outdoors in the neighborhood. If approved, the expanded area would include 145 acres, from R. Shea Brewing at 540 S. Main St. to Lock 15 Brewing at 21 W. North St.

“We’ve heard from many downtown businesses and residents that they would like to see an expanded DORA,” Horrigan said in a news release. “Having seen the success of DORA in its current limited capacity, we are confident that the expansion is the right choice to create a more accessible and beautiful Main Street that supports and serves businesses, workers and the public.

Ohio lawmakers passed legislation allowing such zones in April 2015. Since then, dozens of communities across the state have created DORAs to spur economic development in downtown areas and commercial corridors. Akron’s current DORA includes four downtown businesses. Officials designed the initial area to be small to test the idea and ensure businesses and customers would comply with DORA requirements. Since its inception, there have been no incidents or criminal activity directly related to DORA, according to the city. Feedback has been positive.

“The expansion of Downtown DORA will help create continuity between downtown retail outlets, as well as facilitate more cafes to help downtown entrepreneurs grow and sustain their businesses. . The footprint will also enhance the experience and economic impact of downtown festivals and events, allowing them to better integrate with small businesses and build a more vibrant downtown,” said President and CEO. Downtown Akron Partnership executive Suzie Graham in a press release.

The city has a plan in place to help ensure public safety for the expanded DORA. The plan includes an Akron police presence and oversight from Downtown Akron Partnership security ambassadors. The proposed area will include 20 trash cans, which will be emptied daily by city staff and Lock 3 staff. Downtown Akron Partnership Cleanup Ambassadors will monitor the trash cans and pick up trash as needed.

The Akron City Council is expected to vote on the expanded DORA in mid-June. If approved, the application would be sent to the state for review and publication of new DORA limits. Approval is expected in August 2022.

Residents can submit their comments on the proposed expansion to the Akron City Council at an upcoming meeting. Learn how to submit feedback online.

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David H. Henry