Council approves plan for the city's second DORA in Westwood
Cincinnati Council approved the city's second DORA for Westwood in a 8-0 vote Wednesday. A "designated outdoor refreshment area" allows people to take alcoholic beverages out of bars and restaurants within a certain area.
Larry Eiser of the Westwood Coalition says the plan still needs to get state approval, and local leaders plan to get more resident feedback before finalizing the details.
The DORA will be along Harrison Avenue between Stathem and Kling. It includes businesses like Ivory House, West Side Brewing and Wondercade.
Westwood Civic Association President Tom Sauter says the whole neighborhood will benefit.
"It kind of makes the whole business district feel like one giant entertainment location - a destination rather than just going to Nation for a beer or going to a boutique for a dress or going to the brewery for a six pack," Sauter said. "You could do all of those things and enjoy a beverage while you're at it."
Westwood Civic will manage the DORA, making sure the city's rules are followed. Those rules limit the hours of operation and require all alcohol be in official plastic containers.
At Council's Economic Growth and Zoning committee meeting earlier this month, Larry Eiser said there's already discussion about pedestrian safety.
"One of the things we've already had implemented is to lower the speed limit to 25 in that stretch of Harrison Avenue, and put some bump-outs in so there are shorter crossings," Eiser said. "The project that's planned would add raised intersections, raised crosswalks, bump-outs on some of the other sides of the street to make an even shorter walk."
Cincinnati Economic Development Deputy Director Dan Bowers says the community asked for the designation.
"A lot of our conversations down at the Banks when we implemented that DORA were ensuring that it was expense neutral to the city — that the stakeholders at the Banks could afford the costs that implementing a DORA would come with," Bowers said. "We had the similar scrutiny for Westwood."
State law allows up to four DORA's in Cincinnati. The only other one is at The Banks.
Outgoing Mayor John Cranley says based on his experience with The Banks DORA, he has some advice for Westwood leaders: be flexible.
"I hope it goes exactly as planned," Cranley said at Wednesday's council meeting. "But you know, I've shared with you privately my concerns. And if you have to adjust, adjust and work with the city and others to get it right."
Eiser says he's hoping for a soft opening before the end of January, with a grand opening once the weather gets warmer in the spring.