© 2024 Ideastream Public Media

1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 916-6100 | (877) 399-3307

WKSU is a public media service licensed to Kent State University and operated by Ideastream Public Media.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Akron's designated outdoor refreshment area (DORA) expands to 40 businesses across downtown

DORA boundary Lock 3
Anna Huntsman
Ideastream Public Media
Currently, patrons can consume open alcoholic beverages outdoors in the Lock 3 area, pictured here. If approved by the state, the DORA expansion would extend 145 acres.

Akron has expanded its designated outdoor refreshment area (DORA), which will now cover nearly 145 acres and 40 businesses in the downtown area, city officials announced Tuesday.

The DORA will stretch from R. Shea Brewing south of downtown to Lock 15 Brewing on the north side.

"We're very excited to now offer an expanded DORA to our residents and guests in downtown Akron," Mayor Dan Horrigan said in a press release. "The DORA has been a huge success for our participating businesses so far and we've heard from bars, restaurants, and breweries up and down Main St. and beyond about wanting to be included.”

In a DORA region, patrons can take their opened alcoholic beverages purchased at a DORA establishment outside, and consume them within the approved boundary. Drinks must be purchased from a DORA-approved business and in a designated DORA cup, according to the state.

Akron's initial DORA was approved in May 2020 and included just 4 businesses around the Lock 3 Park area, the mayor’s chief of staff Gert Wilms said.

It does not just include dining; some places, like parks and entertainment venues, will allow you to bring your beverage there as well, Wilms added.

“It just encourages people to come downtown and then to stay downtown, see all the opportunities. You know, this includes the art museum, the movie theater, dining spots," Wilms said. "If you allow people to walk in with your cup, that gives you another opportunity to explore some of those great things downtown has to offer.”

There was no criminal activity directly related to the initial DORA area, and feedback from both business owners and patrons has been positive, Wilms said.

Business owners are excited about the economic impact from more downtown visitors, she added.

“Just even talking with all of the downtown businesses, it was complete buy-in," Wilms said. "It truly is every liquor permit downtown except for Quaker Square at this point, clear from R. Shea down to Lock 15.” 

Protests downtown over the fatal police shooting in June of Jayland Walker have died down, and the city does not have safety concerns at this time, Wilms added.

Akron police officers will regularly patrol the DORA boundary, with extra officers on Thursdays through Sundays during peak times, Wilms said.

Additionally, twenty trash receptacles will be serviced daily in the new DORA footprint, according to the city’s DORA application. City staff will empty the receptacles and DAP and Lock 3 staff will assist with trash collection.

The state approved the expanded DORA earlier in August, but city officials waited to launch it publicly as they reached out to businesses and dealt with supply chain delays of the DORA-designated cups and DORA signage, Wilms added.

The DORA launch comes just in time for the city’s pride festival this weekend.

“Having the larger DORA in place for the Akron Pride Festival this weekend will allow festival goers to purchase alcoholic beverages in the expanded footprint and enjoy anywhere they go within the festival grounds in downtown Akron,” Horrigan said in the release.

President and CEO of Downtown Akron Partnership Suzie Graham added that business owners are excited about the economic impact of the new DORA boundary.

“Expansion of the downtown DORA will improve the experience and economic impact of downtown festivals like Akron Pride, allowing them to better integrate with small businesses and build a more vibrant downtown,” Graham said in the release. “Our downtown businesses are very excited for this expansion and we’re happy to see it come to fruition.”

Ohio began approving DORA districts in 2015. In addition to Akron, several Northeast Ohio cities, including Shaker Heights, Canton, Kent and Hudson have designated open container areas through DORA.

There is currently not a DORA in Cleveland.

Updated: August 23, 2022 at 3:33 PM EDT
The story has been updated with additional comments from the mayor's spokesperson.
Anna Huntsman covers Akron, Canton and surrounding communities for Ideastream Public Media.