DUBLIN, Ohio (WCMH) — Dublin leaders and business owners hope a new perk will drive visitors to the city this summer.
On Monday, Dublin City Council approved a resolution for two designated outdoor refreshment areas (DORA). One will include the new commercial section of Bridge Park, east of Riverside Drive and north of Dublin Granville Road. The other will cover part of the South High Street corridor in historic Dublin, west of the Scioto River.
“While the DORA does allow people to walk around with alcoholic beverages, it’s about way more than that,” said Lindsay Weisenauer, the public affairs officer for Dublin. “This is really an opportunity for anyone to come out, whether it’s families or a date night or you want to do some shopping.”
Many neighbors in the area showed support for the DORA districts during a public input period.
“We go up in Powell where they have the DORA a lot and we love walking around the area. So I think that will keep us in the Bridge Park area,” said Kara Waite, who lives near Bridge Park.
Hannah Lewis added, “Down in the Hamilton District near Cincinnati was the first time we saw a DORA and we were like, ‘Oh we wish this was near Columbus.’”
The city worked with the Dublin Police Department and other cities with DORA districts to come up with regulations and safety protocols. Ohio’s Commerce Department also requires cities to submit an application and abide by state liquor laws. Beverages will be served in specially designed cups from approved establishments and will only be allowed to be consumed within the DORA.
“Luckily we haven’t heard too many concerns from other areas. It’s been pretty successful,” Weisenhauer said.
Business owners in the area expect the move to be a boon for summer sales.
“It will help to have the DORA District for people to be out and about and kind of get back to normal,” said Brenda Kocak, the owner of Modern Male Spas.
New development has sprung up around the historic Dublin shop since it opened 17 years ago. Kocak said recent additions and improvements are a positive sign she hopes will bring a rebound for businesses struggling during the pandemic.
“Bridge Park is really great and vibrant and having that pedestrian bridge really helps bring both sides of the river together,” she said.
Once Dublin’s proposals receive state approval, the city will begin a DORA pilot program. Both DORA districts will operate from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
At the end of the summer, City Council will evaluate the program’s success and determine whether to expand the hours.