Xenia considering starting outdoor drinking district

Xenia could start an outdoor drinking district this year that would allow people to freely walk outside with alcohol purchased from downtown establishments.

The application submitted to city council shows the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) could encompass the Towne Square area, part of South Detroit Street, part of Main Street and part of South Whiteman Street. The area is about 37 acres in the downtown area.

There are five establishments that hold a liquor license within the proposed DORA area: Devil Wind Brewing at 130 S. Detroit St., the Xenia Elks Lodge at 71 E. Second St., Acapulco Mexican restaurant at 88 Xenia Towne Square, The Buck and Ear at 124 Xenia Towne Square and the Ramada at 300 Xenia Towne Square.

Businesses within the district could choose whether to welcome people carrying beverages in their store. The city would provide signage to make that distinction clear.

Those participating would have to buy a special DORA cup, which the city would also provide, city staff said.

Xenia City Council accepted the DORA application last week. The city will hold a public hearing on the potential DORA on March 25.

All council members voted in favor of the DORA except for Xenia Mayor Sarah Mays.

“If we’re counting on alcohol to be successful, that’s a no-go for me,” Mays said.

Councilman Will Urschel expressed concerns about having an open container district near two addiction recovery centers and close to residential areas.

“This is going to change the flavor of downtown,” Urschel said.

City Manager Brent Merriman said the intent is to have the DORA up and running in the spring. This is an effort to help businesses in the downtown area and in the potential Towne Square development.

City staff is working with Xenia police about how police would monitor patrons of the DORA and with the Xenia Public Service Department on a sanitation plan for the DORA district.

The application will be on file in the city clerk’s office at 107 E. Main Street for the public to review before the public hearing. If city council approves the DORA, the city must notify the state of the drinking district.

About the Author