HUDSON — Anyone 21 years of age and older will soon be able to buy an alcoholic beverage at designated establishments and then take a stroll with their drink in parts of downtown.

City Council on Tuesday voted 5-0 to establish a 32.5-acre district known as a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) where patrons can purchase alcoholic drinks at restaurants and consume the beverages while walking within that boundary. Patrons will be required to stay in the district with their drink. Hours of operation will be noon to 9 p.m. seven days a week. 

Community Development Director Greg Hannan said officials are hoping that the DORA will have a "soft opening" around Aug. 1.

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

While acknowledging the new program "will be an experiment," Council member Hal DeSaussure (At Large) stated, "I think this will be a very good thing for the community."

Council member Chris Foster (Ward 2) noted "at least a dozen" residents contacted him to express their support of the DORA and added he did not hear from anyone who opposed the initiative. He observed it will be important to "keep an eye on the impact it has on the town."

"I think it’s a great idea," added Council member Skylar Sutton (Ward 3).

Hannan said each liquor permit—carrying business within the DORA will be given a revised liquor permit for the special program. He added that special cups and signage for the DORA have been ordered.

"A lot of groundwork has been done," said Hannan.

Participating businesses must provide drinks in a designated cup with a DORA label. City spokesperson Jody Roberts said businesses in the DORA boundary will be able to choose whether they will participate.

There are 10 liquor permit holders and an 11th business with a pending permit in the DORA. 

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