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Cleveland approves first DORA district on East 4th Street

 Patrons sit at patio tables on East 4th Street in Downtown Cleveland.
Jon Nungesser
Ideastream Public Media
Dining, music, bowling and comedy are among the businesses on East 4th Street in Downtown Cleveland.

Cleveland will soon implement its first Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, commonly referred to as DORA, allowing Downtown bar-goers to carry their drinks outside along East 4th Street.

The program, which permits participating restaurants to sell branded cups that allow patrons to carry drinks outside within specified boundaries, gives Cleveland the chance to “catch up” to other cities in the region like Akron and Sandusky that have already implemented DORAs to attracts residents to entertainment districts and downtowns, said Planning Director Joyce Pan Huang.

East 4th Street’s proximity to Playhouse Square and music venues like the House of Blues makes the area a “great place” to pilot the program, Huang said, with plans to expand to more of Downtown and other neighborhoods.

Cleveland may have up to six DORAs, which are regulated by the state based on a city’s population size. Huang said the planning department is currently working on a strategic plan to determine the best-suited future locations.

The East 4th Street DORA will be facilitated by ADAPPJR, LLC and Downtown Cleveland Alliance, which will employ crisis-trained safety specialists and off-duty police officers to patrol the area.

The proposal lays out plans for an 1,800 square foot pocket park where bar-goers may enjoy their drinks. The park, funded by tax increment financing from the construction of the House of Blues, will take the place of the East 4th Street valet service, which will move to drop off on Prospect with pickup on Euclid.

Updated: June 12, 2023 at 11:22 AM EDT
This story has been updated to clarify the relocation of valet services.
Abbey Marshall covers Cleveland-area government and politics for Ideastream Public Media.