HUDSON — City Council’s leader said he expects legislators will vote in the coming week on a proposal to create a special outdoor drinking area downtown.

Council is scheduled to hear the proposal at its next meeting on July 7 and Council President Bill Wooldredge (At Large) said he believes council will vote on the legislation that night. 

If approved, the program would allow patrons to purchase alcoholic beverages at existing restaurants in a district known as a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area — or DORA — and consume the drinks while walking within that boundary. Patrons would be required to stay in the designated boundary with their beverage during established days, times or events. 

The potential DORA is another city initiative designed to help businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If council approves, the city’s public works department will put up 13 boundary signs at the edges of the DORA. The message on each sign will say: "Please no alcoholic beverages beyond this point." Hours of operation will be noon to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

The area would be 32.5 acres. If the legislation is approved, the city would apply to the Ohio Division of Liquor Control which would then issue permits to all liquor permit holders located in the DORA. 

There are 10 current liquor permit holders and an 11th business with a pending permit in the proposed DORA. The 10 current permit holders are: Hudson’s Restaurant, 80 N. Main St.; One Red Door/Flipside, 49 Village Way West; Aladdin’s Eatery, 44 Park Lane; D’Agnese Tomato Grill, 106 First St.; Downtown 140, 140 North Main St.; Farinacci Pizza, 86 Owen Brown St.; Three Palms, 60 Village Way; Kepner’s Restaurant, 88 North Main St.; Luchita’s Mexican Restaurant, 36 Park Lane; and Heinen’s of Hudson, 19 Clinton St. The 11th business in the proposed DORA that has a pending permit is Revival Social Club, 200 N. Main St. City spokesperson Jody Roberts said the state has not yet notified the city that Revival Social Club has received its permit.

Roberts said the businesses in the DORA boundary will be able to choose whether to participate in the program.

"There was a positive response from those we spoke with," said Roberts. "I do not know who will be participating if it passes."

The businesses that participate in the DORA program must provide drinks in a designated cup with a DORA label. Businesses that are within the DORA can allow patrons with DORA cups to enter their establishment.

Council hosted a virtual public hearing on the issue on June 16. Residents were allowed to email comments to the clerk of council or request to make a live comment during the virtual meeting. Clerk of Council Elizabeth Slagle read comments submitted by three residents who all favored creating the DORA. No comments were submitted in opposition to the proposal.

In May, the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce, the Merchants of Hudson, and Destination Hudson sent out a joint letter requesting the creation of a DORA.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.