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There's a proposal to bring an outdoor drinking area to the Arena District: Here's how it would work

The Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) would run along Nationwide Boulevard and include Nationwide Arena, Huntington Park, and Lower.com Field.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus City Council is asking for feedback on an application from Mayor Andrew Ginther to create a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) in the Arena District.

The DORA would run along Nationwide Boulevard and include Nationwide Arena, Huntington Park, and Lower.com Field.

It would allow people to purchase alcoholic beverages from participating bars and restaurants and take them outside and into other participating locations within the area during home games for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Clippers, and the Columbus Crew. 

According to the proposal, the DORA would start three hours prior to the start of a home game and end at 11:59 p.m. that night.

Credit: Columbus City Council

Tim Emery is the owner of Boston's Pizza Restaurant and Sports Bar. He said at first, he didn't love the idea of a DORA but he's come around to it. 

"[My] concerns would just be a free-for-all out here and they've done a good job of making sure that is not the case with designated glasses or cups. I think it will just be a good, clean, safe, environment," Emery said. "The Arena District is such a beautiful area. A lot of times people are going to a game or an event, they come in, they get locked into one place and then they go the event. This will give them the opportunity to come in, have a drink, have something to eat, and then get a drink to maybe walk around and experience the District a little bit."

In a public hearing Thursday night, area residents voiced their concerns about the proposal, including who would clean up the area, monitor noise, and make sure it's safe. 

Mark Whitt, who lives at Parks Edge Condos, said, "The proposal really is a double insult for residents. We don't want people drinking in our front yards in the first place, let alone be forced to pay for the aftermath. Having said that, restricting the DORA to Nationwide Boulevard would seem to be a reasonable compromise."

Councilmember Emmanuel Remy acknowledged this process isn't over and there are questions that still need answered before July 12. That is the date when the council could vote on it. 

"This is an exciting opportunity for the City of Columbus and for the business owners in the area. We are supportive in general, but if there needs to be some tweaks made, we will be sure to do so," Remy said. 

You can view the full application here. You can also listen back to the public hearing via the City of Columbus YouTube channel

Anyone with questions or concerns can email Councilmember Remy at evremy@columbus.gov.