Hudson Council approves continued operation of outdoor drinking area

Legislators say program has been 'successful'

Phil Keren
Kent Weeklies
Hudson residents Dave and Karen Maag sit outside Aladdin’s Eatery in the city's downtown enjoying their drinks in the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) in summer 2020. People ages 21 and older can buy alcoholic drinks in special cups and consume the beverages outdoors in designated areas. Council on Jan. 19, 2021, voted to continue the DORA program and extended the hours on both Saturday and Sunday.

HUDSON — City council agreed to continue allowing an outdoor drinking area downtown, with members noting the initiative has been "successful."

Legislators on Jan. 19, unanimously approved continuing the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) on 32.5 acres and extended the DORA's operating hours.

Council approved setting up the DORA in July 2020. That legislation allowed the DORA to remain in effect through January 2021 and the language stated council would then decide whether they wished to continue the program. Members agreed that they would like the DORA to continue for the foreseeable future.

"[The DORA] has been overwhelmingly successful from everyone I've talked to, both merchants and restaurants downtown, as well as residents," said Council member Skylar Sutton (Ward 3). "We tried an experiment and I think it really went well."

Previously, the DORA operated from noon to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Under the newest measure passed by council, the DORA will remain in effect from noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, but will now occur from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

During those hours, anyone ages 21 and older can buy an alcoholic beverage at certain participating establishments and take a stroll outdoors with their drink in the designated area of downtown.

The DORA was launched as a way to help businesses during the challenging economic times of the COVID-19 pandemic, but council members noted they felt the endeavor should continue even after all coronavirus-related restrictions have been lifted.

Council member Chris Foster (Ward 2) added he believed the DORA will "have a long-term positive impact on our downtown area and really help us in the recovery as we get into spring."

City spokesperson Jody Roberts said state law requires council to review the program again in five years.

When that review occurs, council can either vote to continue the DORA's operation or dissolve it.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@thebeaconjournal.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.