CANTON, OH - After more than a year of research, Monday night Canton City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that will allow people to consume alcoholic beverages outside of bars and restaurants on city streets and sidewalks.
It’s called a DORA or “Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area” and Canton is the first larger city and third location in the state to approve one, joining Athens and Middletown, Ohio.
“It’s a big deal, it’s a very big deal,” said Councilman Edmond Mack who helped craft the ordinance after consulting and working with many other business and community leaders including the Downtown Canton Special Improvement District.
“I think the plan we’ve created is going to work and give us a good start to put this in place safely and professionally,” said Mack.
According to the DORA guidelines approximately 68.7 acres of land in and around Cleveland Ave NW and Market St. will make up the designated area.
Cultured Coffee Co., and Buzzbin Art and Music Shop are two of the businesses within the district.
Owner Mike Nasvadi has been a huge supporter of the DORA and says it will greatly enhance the vibrancy, which has been growing downtown.
“We’re known for unique food fine dining art and music,” said Mike, “This is a way for us to extend our businesses outdoors; where you can literally bring your beer or wine outside.”
Some concerns were raised about a possible one dollar fee businesses could charge for “to go” cups, and the potential for people to sneak alcohol into the designated zone.
But Mike says, there will always be some people who attempt to break the law. Also, the fees collected will help pay for any extra sanitation costs or police presence.
The next step is for the Ohio Liquor Control Board to review and approve the ordinance.
If that happens, Councilman Mack says, the DORA could be ready for Memorial Day.