Release Date: May 12,2020
Application Submitted for a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area along Main Street in Downtown Akron
If approved, patrons would be permitted to enjoy “to-go” alcoholic beverages while strolling within designated perimeter
Akron, Ohio, May 12, 2020—The City of Akron has submitted an application to establish a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) along the Lock3/Akron Civic Theatre block of downtown Akron. A DORA is a designated public area where alcoholic beverages can be purchased from permitted establishments and consumed outside within the district. The DORA will complement the massive investments already being made in downtown Akron to make the Main Street Corridor a more accessible, beautiful street that supports and serves businesses, workers, and the public. Phase 1 construction of Main St. is on schedule to be complete in July 2020. Akron City Council is not expected to vote on the DORA legislation until June, and, if approved, the City hopes to be able to implement the DORA this July.
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 City consulted with other communities and determined that these DORAs reported positive outcomes in terms of safety and public compliance.
The City’s Office of Integrated Development (OID) worked with the Akron Police Department, the Downtown Akron Partnership, and stakeholders within the proposed district for the several months on the proposal. Safety and cleanliness are priorities of the Akron DORA proposal. As part of the detailed safety and sanitation plans, one or more on-duty Akron police officers will patrol the district during all hours of operation, and DAP ambassadors and City crews will ensure the area is well-cleaned and maintained.
According to the proposed guidelines, patrons of five bars and restaurants within the DORA will be permitted to purchase alcoholic beverages “to-go” which will be poured into designated, marked, biodegradable cups. Customers must consume the beverages within the marked DORA district, which includes Main Street between Bowery and State Streets (in front of Akron Civic Theatre, the Bowery, Law Building), Locks 2, 3 & 4, and portions of the Towpath Trail. (See enclosed map). The hours of operation will be from noon to midnight daily.
“Originally, this initiative began as a way to draw people downtown to enjoy the newly renovated Main Street,” Deputy Mayor for Integrated Development James Hardy said. “In the post-COVID19 world, the designated outdoor refreshment area will create the added benefit of allowing bars and restaurants to continue to serve customers while enabling physical distancing.”
“Establishing an outdoor refreshment area in downtown Akron builds on our efforts to create a vibrant live, work, play environment along Main Street,” Mayor Dan Horrigan said. “As we all look for innovative ways to return to the activities and economy we previously enjoyed—in a modified way—outdoor entertainment and opportunities will play an important role in keeping us healthy and active. I look forward to working with our partners to support the safety and success of this proposal in Akron.”
“DAP is grateful for the City’s leadership in the creation of the DORA and we look forward to the collaborative opportunities to help grow stronger small businesses and creatively program public spaces downtown,” added Suzie Graham, President of DAP.