A spiral zen garden at the rooftop acropolis Liberty Center

Business owners react to possible drinking outdoors and inside shops at Liberty Center

If approved, people who visit places like Cantina Laredo and Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern and other restaurants in the $350 million mixed use project could drink alcoholic beverages beyond the doors of the eateries, and in stores while shopping.

While the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area would benefit shoppers, it also would affect businesses there.

Marina Amaral, owner of Le Macaron French Pastries, said somebody walking into her business, drink in their hand, would be a welcome sight.

“The macaron, our main product, works very well with wine, champagne or even beer, so I really don’t mind,” Amaral said. “I really like the idea.”

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A DORA also could help boost Liberty Center’s popularity not only for guests, but even residents of its apartments.

“People can come down with friends and socialize a little bit around (the shopping center),” she said. “I think that’s good.”

Under the proposed DORA, outdoor drinking would be allowed from noon to midnight daily, and there will be about 22 signs telling people where they can and can’t take their adult beverages, according to the plan. By state law, patrons can’t bring their DORA drinks from one drinking establishment to another.

Sean Quinn, general manager of bar concept The Roosevelt Room, said a DORA would be beneficial to Liberty Center guests looking to unwind on the property during a summer concert or other outdoor event.

“People would be able to take a cocktail over there, listen and do whatever they want to do,” he said. “As long as they monitor it and it doesn’t get out of control, I think it would be a good thing for the center.”

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A DORA also would benefit the restaurants and bars serving the drinks, Quinn said. 

“They might have that extra cocktail and it might add sales to the businesses around here,” he said. “Have that one (additional) cocktail and then go shop instead of cutting it off and then going to shop.”

The DORA designation complements the township’s vision and will enhance the growth and development of the area, and it is anticipated the DORA will foster continued interest and investment in Liberty Center, according to the application.

Special DORA cups that include the rules would be the only authorized drink containers outdoors. Retailers would be provided signs to indicate whether they would allow drinking in their stores.

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The DORA application also addresses safety concerns, noting that their private security company and the township’s contract with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office will ensure things don’t get out of hand, using foot, bicycle and vehicle patrols within the DORA. The safety plan would be reviewed monthly during the first six months to determine if tweaks are necessary.

Sorella Boutique owner Heather Trautman, a Liberty Twp. resident, said the DORA is a good idea that could increase the amount of pedestrian traffic in Liberty Center.

“I will welcome it (but) just like anything, I’m not going to allow someone who’s coming in intoxicated (and) acting in a certain way,” she said. “But an adult couple that’s went and seen a movie and they’ve got a glass of wine or another drink and are going around to look at the shops, I welcome that. That’s fine with me.”

There will be a public hearing on the issue March 5. A copy of the entire DORA application may be viewed at www.tinyurl.com/libertydora.

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