She said the number of businesses within the DORA area have continued to grow and now has about a dozen downtown businesses participating. The DORA has allowed customers to take their beverages outside and be socially distant from others, while still supporting Middletown businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the city created the DORA in 2015, council has amended the DORA ordinance twice. The two amendments included lengthening the hours of operation from noon to midnight daily and extending the eastern boundary along Central Avenue.
The ordinance to continue the DORA area also includes a request from the city Economic Development Department to expand the southern boundary about three acres to include N.E.W. Ales on First Avenue.
The new expansion of the DORA will include the block bounded by Philadelphia Avenue, Garfield Street, First Avenue and Baltimore Street.
Cohen said the financial impact to the city will be minimal for new signage at the new boundary and additional trash receptacles in the expanded area.
Jeff Payne, executive director of Downtown Middletown Inc., said continuing the DORA “is really positive for downtown.”
“The DORA is a very effective economic development tool,” Payne said. “Over the COVID-19 period, it was a real lifesaver for a number of downtown bars and restaurants. This (continuance) will help us in our recovery from the pandemic.”