The City of Gahanna is moving closer to establishing legislation that would create a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) in the city’s downtown area. A public hearing is slated to be held at 7 pm August 3.
Section 4301.82 of the Ohio Revised Code authorizes municipalities to create a DORA within designated boundaries. Once a DORA is established, people may walk around the area with an alcoholic beverage that is purchased from a participating liquor permit holder during specified hours.
In February of this year, Gahanna business owners Lew Griffin and Brad Fisher appeared before City Council on behalf of the Creekside District Alliance (CDA), and presented an overview of the proposed DORA. During the meeting, they advocated that the creation of a “Creekside Outdoor Refreshment Area” would serve the cultural and economic betterment of businesses, residents and property owners in the Creekside District.
Following the presentation, the CDA worked closely with City Administration to finalize the proposed rules and conditions of a DORA for the Creekside District. On June 24, 2020, a formal application to establish a DORA in the District was filed with the Council’s office by Gahanna Mayor Laurie Jadwin, in partnership with the Creekside District Alliance.
“Filing of the application was the culmination of many months of collaborative discussion and evaluation with businesses in the Creekside District,” said Jadwin. “We are excited to be able to take this next step forward in establishing a DORA in our downtown area, as DORAs have proven to be very effective in many cities in drawing foot traffic that supports local businesses. This is particularly important at a time when so many of our restaurants and businesses are challenged by the restrictions imposed by COVID-19.”
Many of the restaurants located in the Creekside District have voiced strong support for the creation of a DORA. Shawn White, owner of Nostalgia Brewing, said a DORA is an opportunity to showcase the beautiful park space, pathways, and creek in the center of Gahanna. “Creekside is a hidden gem. A DORA also provides a unique opportunity to allow participating businesses in the Creekside District to make up lost revenue from their decreased indoor capacity.”
Stan Riley, owner of Barrel & Boar, similarly noted that a “DORA is a natural addition to the Creekside District that will help bring the business and activity the area needs to be a fun and vibrant entertainment area for Gahanna residents.”
The proposed DORA boundaries are Big Walnut Creek to the west, High Street to the East, Granville Street to the South, and North Street to the North. The DORA would allow individuals to walk within the DORA boundaries with an alcoholic beverage purchased from a liquor permit holding establishment. There are currently 6 qualified permit holders who have expressed interest in participating in the DORA, including Barrel & Boar, Local Cantina, Signatures Mill Stone Tavern, Old Bag of Nails Pub/Pour House, Nostalgia Brewing, and Stadium Bar & Grill.
The DORA application also includes a plan to ensure public safety, as required by state law. Gahanna Police Chief Jeff Spence said working jointly on the safety plan with the CDA and the City has been appreciated. “We believe the measures being implemented as part of this plan will help us keep the DORA a safe and enjoyable space for guests, and will aid in the success of our Creekside businesses.”
According to the application that was filed, the proposed hours and days of the Creekside Outdoor Refreshment Area would be 3 – 11pm Monday – Wednesday, and 11am to 11pm Thursday – Sunday, though the DORA would be suspended during certain special events that take place annually within the boundaries of the proposed DORA (such as the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival, Taste of Gahanna, Creekside Hops & Vines Festival).
Lew Griffin, President of the CDA, said that a DORA will be a great addition to the Creekside District, and can increase revenue for some of our local businesses. “With DORA, businesses will be inclined to work more collaboratively to provide a beautiful and vibrant space for our residents to spend time with friends and family. DORA is a plus for Gahanna and the Creekside District.”
For more information about the proposed DORA, including the full application, go to: https://www.gahanna.gov/city-council/