Aug. 19—Several people attended a public hearing on Thursday to seek comments on plans to expand Springboro’s designated outdoor refreshment area in the downtown historic district.
However, only two people, one for and one against the proposal, shared their comments with council during the public hearing.
Jack Blosser, executive director of the Springboro Area Chamber of Commerce, said DORA districts are a fast-growing economic development tool.
“It’s been a bright spot for Springboro post-COVID,” he said. “Businesses are still suffering from COVID PTSD. Businesses also need to think outside the box and they need all the help they can get.”
South Main Street resident Betty Bray said: “I’m in the middle of this and I’m against it. I think it’s a bad idea and I don’t think it’s right.”
Bray said it was dangerous to cross Ohio 73 from Wright Station to historic downtown, adding that if she had a business downtown, she wouldn’t want intoxicated people entering. on the inside.
Mayor John Agenbroad said: “Council can give and council can take. There has been no problem with the DORA ward. If there’s anything we can do for the town centre, we’ll do it. will do.”
Council will give the draft ordinance a second reading at its September 1 meeting.
Deputy City Manager Greg Shackleford said there is interest in expanding the DORA neighborhood on both sides of Main Street south to Ohio 73 just south of Mill Street/Lower Springboro Road.
Shackleford said the proposed expansion will allow other South Main Street liquor licensees to participate in the DORA program, which allows people to drink alcoholic beverages while walking outside establishments.
Beverages are sold in special cups obtained from the city and are not subject to open container laws. Local businesses in a DORA district can self-identify whether they are part of the DORA program and whether or not customers with DORA cups can enter stores.
So far, Shackleford said there have been no issues following the creation of the DORA district.
Springboro enacted its DORA order in April 2020, but it didn’t go into effect until Warped Wing at Wright Station obtained its state liquor license and opened in August 2020, Shackleford said. He said Warped Wing is responsible for 60% of DORA’s sales.
In December 2015, the DORA neighborhood in downtown Middletown was the first authorized by the State of Ohio. Since then, Middletown officials said other cities in Ohio have created their own DORA districts or periodically contacted Middletown officials for information and guidance.
Councilman Jack Hansen said police will regularly patrol the DORA. He also noted the special cup that must be used and that no company is forced to participate in DORA.
Shackleford told Bray he appreciated his comments and that the city would not tolerate any disruptive behavior. “We’re trying to connect Wright station to downtown,” he said.