Centerville DORA: City council OKs new outdoor drinking area for Uptown

Start date is not finalized, as cups have to be ordered and signage installed, but early summer is target timeframe



Centerville is getting its second outdoor drinking area, this one in a portion of the city’s Uptown.

The designated outdoor refreshment area, or DORA, should be operational by early summer in the commercial area surrounding the Franklin Street and Main Street intersection, stretching as far as Virginia Avenue in the west, Maple Avenue in the east, Cranston Court to the south and just south of East Ridgeway Drive to the north, according to Joey O’Brien, the city’s economic development administrator.

Centerville City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve creation of the Uptown DORA.

City spokeswoman Kate Bostdorff said the DORA can be put into effect 30 days or more after council approval. But a firm date is not set. Bostdorff said the city needs to order DORA cups for the businesses, plus order and install boundary signs, so early summer is a possible start date.

Once launched, the outdoor drinking area will operate from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Businesses that would be able to sell alcoholic drinks within it will include Agave & Rye, The Brunch Pub, City Barbeque, Crabshire’s Tavern, MacDigger’s Pub, Manna Uptown, Meridien and Nelly’s: A Taste of Bolivia.

Seven retail establishments and 21 service-related businesses are within the 16.4-acre DORA, city documents show, but businesses have the ability to opt out of allowing patrons to enter with DORA beverages in hand.

Credit: Peter Wine

Credit: Peter Wine

Mayor Brooks Compton was optimistic about the DORA’s potential.

“We will look at this as an opportunity, not just for restaurants but those businesses and shops in the area to be able to have an opportunity to have someone stop in for something (to drink), maybe at Agave & Rye or one of the other places and then head on over to Pieces of Style or or one of the other businesses and enjoy the atmosphere there and then head on down for dinner at Brunch Pub or Meriden or Manna,” Compton said.

Creation of the new outdoor drinking area didn’t come without apprehension from some. Several local business owners told council members they were concerned the DORA might lead to increased trash, noise, inappropriate behavior and property damage.

Dr. Kathy Platoni, who said she has owned property in the city’s Historic District for 23 years, praised the advent of Uptown Centerville and lauded city officials for their efforts there. But Platoni also noted that ownership of her property has not been without its major problems, including multiple instances of littering, property damage and vandalism.

While the DORA concept for alcoholic beverages has seen “considerable successes” in economic development and increased revenue in numerous Ohio communities, including several in Montgomery County, “there is much more to deliberate than just the money a DORA will generate for any jurisdiction,” she said.

Existing problems “will only be made far worse by open drinking areas that will generate more property damage, more trash and more crime,” Platoni said.

O’Brien said the city can track any complaints received from the implementation of the DORA. City council could then weigh whether to take action, including amending specific DORA regulations, changing boundaries, suspending the DORA indefinitely or eliminating it.

O’Brien also said city staff would closely monitor the DORA’s operations to determine if any additional trash cans are needed within the boundary area.

“I am very confident that the citizens of Centerville will behave and have a great time in Uptown and they will support our local businesses,” said Council member Mark Engert. “If there is a problem, we have the power to correct it and I think it’s going to be a wonderful thing for the business owners and our community.”

Patrick Beckel, who said he has two Uptown Centerville businesses, spoke in support of the DORA, saying it would fit well with the city’s burgeoning upscale dining scene.

“In my business, we will sit out on the back patio at 33 West Franklin St. and we will watch people walk from Manna to Agave & Rye down to Brunch Pub because there’s not a table at one of them, but they can go in and support one of the businesses and get a drink and then take it down to the other while they’re waiting or sit and wait for their table to go together,” Beckel said.

This will be Centerville’s second DORA. The city launched its first DORA last year within the Cornerstone of Centerville mixed-use development.

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