Main Street Delaware mulls DORA support

By Brandon Klein -

Main Street Delaware officials are still considering whether or not to support establishment of a designated outdoor refreshment area in the city’s downtown district.

The DORA permit, which has been discussed by Delaware City Council, would allow patrons to openly consume alcoholic beverages within the boundaries. Council wants to use the permit to have permit holders serve beer and wine in specially marked cups for only special events.

Main Street Delaware has not come to a consensus about whether to include the DORA with its First Friday events, said Executive Director Susie Bibler.

“We’re not sure which First Fridays we would use it for when we look our current theme for First Fridays,” she said. “We have really worked hard to make First Fridays a family event.”

Bibler told The Gazette Main Street could use the DORA for a different event, once approved by council, that caters to adults.

There are only two organizers on board with the DORA. The Performance Classic Car Show and the New Moon Half Marathon in 2018. The Delaware Arts Festival organizers are not interested, according to city officials.

“My whole purpose in this thing was to enhance Delaware to encourage people to come to Delaware to keep their interest here; that’s it,” said Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle.

A Main Street survey found 57 percent of 44 responding downtown businesses were in favor of the DORA, Bibler said. The rest were undecided or against.

Councilwoman Lisa Keller, 2nd Ward, said the DORA seems like a lot of work for just two events.

Riggle agreed. But she said the DORA could launch new events such as Barley Hopster owner Brian Harpster’s idea to have an Oktoberfest and the Backstretch could bring back the Jeff’s Jam festival without the costs burdens of a beer garden.

“What we’re hoping for is more events,” Riggle said.

The boundaries considered for the DORA would be Sandusky Street from Spring Street to Central Avenue and on William and Winter streets from Franklin Street to Union Street, according to the application. The DORA would only be active for permitted special events. Public safety and sanitation plans must be included with the DORA.

Council’s discussion of the DORA on Monday was informal. City Manager R. Thomas Homan will have to formally submit the application to council. The application would need to be advertised with council to have a public hearing and make a decision between 30 to 60 days of the initial notice.

Delaware became eligible to have a DORA under a 2015 state law after April. It allows the city to create the area at up to 150 contiguous acres with at least four permit holders.

In other business, council approved:

• Approved a development plan for McDonald’s to replace its more than 30-year-old location at 2091 U.S. 23 N.

• Transfer of a liquor permit to Mi Cerrito Mexican Restaurant, 19 E. Winter St., in downtown.

By Brandon Klein

Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.

Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.