City of Akron Looks to Expand Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) in Downtown Akron
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DORA would cover nearly 145 acres in downtown

City of Akron Press Release

From the desk of City of Akron Press Office
Published: 05-18-2022

Akron, Ohio, May 18, 2022 — Mayor Horrigan recently submitted an application to Akron City Council to expand the DORA in downtown Akron. The DORA, which was first approved in May 2020, is a designated public area where alcoholic beverages can be purchased from permitted establishments and consumed outdoors within the district. If approved, the DORA would be expanded to cover nearly 145 acres from R. Shea Brewing at 540 S. Main to Lock 15 Brewing at 21 W North St. Please see attached map for specific boundaries.

"We've heard from many downtown businesses and residents that they would love to see an expanded DORA," said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. "We're confident after seeing the success of the DORA in its current limited capacity that expanding is the right choice to create a more accessible, beautiful Main St. that supports and serves businesses, workers, and the public. Main St. is open, and we encourage everyone to come on down this summer and see all that it has to offer!"

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President and CEO of Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP), Suzie Graham said, "Expansion of the downtown DORA will help create continuity between downtown retail locations, as well as facilitate more café dining to help downtown entrepreneurs grow and sustain their businesses. The footprint will also improve the experience and economic impact of downtown festivals and events, allowing them to better integrate with small businesses and build a more vibrant downtown."

Ohio lawmakers passed legislation authorizing these areas in April 2015.  Since then, dozens of Ohio communities have established DORAs as a way of spurring economic development and differentiating their downtowns and key business corridors. The current DORA boundaries were set to start small, including four downtown businesses in the vicinity around Lock 3 to test the idea and ensure that all business owners and patrons could, and would, comply with the mandates of the DORA. With its creation more than 2 years ago, to date, there have been no incidents or criminal activity directly related to the DORA. The feedback pertaining to the current DORA has been overwhelmingly positive, with residents and downtown stakeholders excited to expand the refreshment area so that more businesses may participate in this unique entertainment district. The expanded DORA would include nearly 40 downtown establishments.

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Safety

There is a Safety Plan to ensure public safety within the expanded DORA limits. The plan includes Akron police officers regularly patrolling within the DORA footprint, with extra officers patrolling Thursday-Sunday during peak times. To supplement the efforts of Akron Police, DAP safety ambassadors will also patrol the DORA.

Cleanliness

There is also a Sanitation Plan to account for the additional DORA cups which will be utilized with an expanded area. There are twenty trash receptables in the new DORA footprint which are serviced daily. City of Akron staff will empty the trash receptacles while DAP cleaning ambassadors will monitor the area multiple times a day, and extra on peak days, to collect litter. Lock 3 staff will also assist with trash collection. More trash receptables can be added if needed.

Timeline

Akron City Council is expected to vote on the expanded DORA in mid-June. If approved, the application would be sent to the State of Ohio for review and issuance of new DORA boundaries. It's expected that approval would come in August of 2022.

Residents wishing to submit feedback on the planned expansion can provide public comment to Akron City Council at an upcoming meeting. Learn more about that process here.

For further information, contact:
City of Akron Press Office
Phone: 330-375-2754
E-mail: [email protected]

Filed Under: Government, City

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