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Troy exploring outdoor drinking area

CONTRIBUTED.
CONTRIBUTED.

Troy officials are exploring establishing a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, for its downtown joining Tipp City and other area communities in creating or looking to create another option for visitors.

A DORA allows a patron of an establishment serving alcohol to take a drink out of the building and walk within district boundaries. The drink must be in a specially marked “plastic container” showing it was purchased within the district.

In Troy, city officials are putting together a plan for the downtown area for consideration this month by the city council, Tim Davis, Troy’s development director, told Miami County commissioners July 2.

Davis revealed the city’s planning in a discussion in which he said the city wanted to know how commissioners felt about including county properties downtown in the district. Those properties include parking lots and the county Courthouse/Safety Building plaza area.

Specific proposed DORA boundaries are being explored.

Commissioners showed little interest in allowing a DORA on the Courthouse plaza area, which is undergoing more than $3 million in renovations.

The city assumed the Courthouse plaza would be a “no,” Davis said, adding the greatest interest was in including the county’s North Cherry Street parking lot, which is near the Great Miami River and just north of the Public Square.

Commissioner Ted Mercer said he didn’t see any “big deal” with including the county parking lots on North Cherry and West Water streets.

Commission President Jack Evans said he wanted Sheriff Dave Duchak’s input before the commissioners gave any approvals because the sheriff is responsible for enforcement on the county properties. “When the fights break out, and they will, he will be involved,” he said.

Evans said he also doesn’t like the idea of using county parking lots as part of the DORA because of clean up that likely would be needed before the lot could be used again by employees. He said he would vote against the county giving its blessing to using the lots.

“Certainly, with the (Courthouse) plaza, I don’t want them there,” Evans said.

Troy’s neighbor to the south, Tipp City, is in the process of holding hearings on a DORA for its downtown district.

The DORA would be particularly helpful in the COVID-19 environment in which restaurants and bars cannot seat as many people as usual, said Kim Bulgin, executive director of the Downtown Tipp City Partnership.

“They can open up more seating outside to bring more people downtown, to keep people shopping,” Bulgin said.

Communities across the region with DORAs include Dayton’s Oregon District, Springfield, Springboro and Miami Twp., among others.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com