New year brings new cups, wristbands to Middletown DORA district

New cups are now in use in Middletown’s Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, and starting Feb. 1, patrons will have to wear a dated wristband to enjoy their beverage while strolling the downtown district.

Officials from Downtown Middletown Inc. and the city were distributing the cups to the licensed DORA establishments on Friday afternoon just as the monthly “First Friday” was starting.

“The cups were provided to the license holders with the expectation that they will be utilizing them as soon as they got their supply,” said Matt Eisenbraun, assistant city economic development director, in an email to the Journal-News.

The new wristbands were also distributed. The city will require a wristband starting Feb. 1 for anyone consuming an alcoholic beverage within the DORA boundaries.

The new wristbands will be sold for $1, and proceeds will be used for future marketing of the DORA area covering other costs such as trash removal and security. After Feb. 1, patrons consuming an alcoholic beverage without the dated wristband or DORA cup could be cited for having an open container.

New placards for participating license holders were also issued so patrons will know where DORA beverages can be purchased and which establishments welcome DORA beverages from other participating bars.

Starting next week, other businesses in the downtown district will be contacted to determine if they would like similar placards or a placard that indicates DORA beverages are not welcome in their business.

Middletown was the first DORA district approved in the state of Ohio. Such a district allows patrons to consume alcoholic beverages outside of bars within the boundaries each day from noon to midnight.

While the district is an open container area, the beverages must be purchased at specially licensed establishments within the DORA, according to city officials. Patrons can purchase the drinks and walk around with them, but they cannot take that beverage into another establishment. Rules also do not allow people to bring their own beverages into that area and drink there.

Last month, Middletown City Council received a request from City Manager Doug Adkins to expand the DORA district. The expanded boundaries would include the area bordered by Central Avenue, Philadelphia Avenue, Curtis Street and Garfield Street, and would the Middletown Lyric Theater on Central Avenue.

MORE: Council OKs open container area in Middletown

A public hearing is expected to be held at the Jan. 8 council meeting on the request as council is required to set the boundaries of DORA districts.

Last May, the city of Hamilton also created a DORA district in its downtown.

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