PORTSMOUTH— In a 5-0 vote Monday evening, Portsmouth City Council adopted an ordinance that would install a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area in the city. Through its passage, Portsmouth joins fellow Ohio cities like Middletown, Oxford, and Hilliard in the creation of a zone permitting businesses to distribute and for citizens to consume alcoholic beverages within it.
With local businesses reeling due to the coronavirus, 1st Ward Councilman Sean Dunne said this idea could go a long way in their success.
“One of the things we’re trying to do with this is keeping businesses afloat,” said Dunne. “We want people to be safe and we want people to go to these businesses in the DORA district.”
Located inside the area include restaurants like Patties and Pints, the Portsmouth Brewing Company, and the Port City Pub among other retail and service operations. Restaurants are required to both have an alcohol permit and submit sanitation and signage plans to participate.
“The program has been very successful in other cities and I’m sure Portsmouth will have similar results,” said Tim Wolfe, owner of Patties and Pints in a released statement. “It will provide people with a safe way to enjoy our downtown restaurants and businesses, and I think it will add to the fun atmosphere that has developed here in recent years.
Operating three days a week, the DORA district will be positioned mostly in the western end of the city.
- The southern border the Riverfront from Alexandria Point east to the Grant Bridge.
- The easterly border would be the east side of Chillicothe Street from Second Street north to Sixth Street.
- The north border would be the east and west side of Chillicothe Street at sixth Street.
- The west border would be the west side of Chillicothe Street between sixth to and including properties located on the north side of Second Street then proceed westerly back to Alexandria Point
2nd Ward Councilwoman Charlotte Gordon asked Dunne about the availability of restrooms, the signage, and wristbands required to carry and drink alcoholic beverages. Restaurants within DORA would allow attendees to use their bathrooms, Dunne replied, and designs for the signs and wristbands are still in progress.
At Tuesday’s Scioto County Commissioners meeting, Bryan Davis said only time will tell the economic benefits that DORA provides or does not provide. For now, he remains skeptical.
“I don’t know how it furthers our economy,” said Davis. “I’m not sure if open container zones are a good thing, but that’s just me.”
To keep the operation safe, Dunne is asking the vendors to take typical precautions when choosing who to serve alcohol to.
“If someone is coming who shouldn’t be served or has had a problem, what I would like to do is explain to servers that we are relying on them to be our first line of enforcement,” said Dunne. “If it gets out of hand, then we would have to end it and that would be problematic.”
DORA will begin operations in the next few weeks following a review and approval by the state government.
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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