First Friday will include a first: Bucyrus ready to launch downtown DORA

The Crawford Partnership and the Bucyrus Area Chamber of Commerce are working collaboratively to create and launch the City of Bucyrus’ DORA. We would be remiss if we didn’t also thank the Bucyrus Police Department, the City of Bucyrus, the downtown bars, eateries, and businesses for their support and engagement as we all work together to make the DORA happen. 

First Friday will include a first: Bucyrus ready to launch downtown DORA

Outdoor refreshment area set to go July 1

Gere Goble

Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum
Jessie Furner of the Bucyrus Area Chamber of Commerce provided this prototype of Bucyrus' DORA logo.

Downtown leaders are planning to launch the city’s new Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) in July.

Erin Stine, community development director for the Crawford Partnership, said final planning and preparations are being completed this week. On Monday morning, she and Jessie Furner, executive director of the Bucyrus Area Chamber of Commerce, met with business owners and city officials to discuss final plans.

“We’re getting our ducks in a row and we’re planning to launch the DORA on July 1, just in time for the next First Friday here in downtown,” Stine said.

Once the DORA goes into effect, patrons of 11 downtown bars and eateries will be able to purchase drinks in specially marked cups that will allow them to take their alcoholic drinks outside to enjoy from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. The drinks must be kept within the DORA’s boundaries, which will be marked.

‘A lot of meetings and conversations’

Stine and Furner led the effort to develop a DORA application, which was signed by Mayor Jeff Reser earlier this year and approved by Bucyrus City Council in April. The legislation was then reviewed by the Ohio Division of Liquor Control to ensure the city’s plan complies with state laws.

“It’s been two years,” Stine said of the DORA development process. “It’s been a very long time of having a lot of meetings and conversations. … The last time I counted, there were 102 cities and villages in the state that have a DORA in place. And when we started, it was in the 30s.

“This is something that has really been found to be successful in other communities, so I’m confident we are going to be able to do it and do it well in Bucyrus, and I’m excited about the collaborative spirit. We’re all going to work together to figure this out together. I think it’s going to be great.”

Stine predicted the DORA will be a “great economic development tool.”

Reser agreed, saying he believes it will help bring people downtown.

“I think the downtown area is critical to development, to attracting people. People like to come downtown,” he said.

Bucyrus is fortunate that its downtown has continued to thrive, though some improvements are needed, the mayor said.

“I think your city is going to be as healthy as your downtown is. If you can have a nice downtown to attract people, you’re going to have people who want to live here, and work here. Raise their families. I’m very focused on downtown. Anything good for downtown, I’m going to be in favor of.”

Stine cautioned people to remember that although the DORA is coming soon, the legislation isn’t in effect yet.

Liquor laws remain in effect

A few downtown businesses have reported people trying to bring in an outside beverage — something DORA rules won’t allow anyway. Only drinks purchased from the 11 participating downtown businesses with liquor licenses will be allowed on the street, and those must be in the specially marked cups.

A map from Bucyrus' DORA application shows the area's boundaries.

All other liquor laws still pertain, Reser stressed.

“We might not get everything right the very first go at it,” Stine said, “but we’ve got a great network of downtown businesses and the DORA establishments.”

She said that with all the events scheduled downtown this summer — such as First Fridays, Music at the Mural and Friday night movies at Schines Art Park — “there’s a lot of opportunities, I think, to make this a really fun addition. And we’ve got the backing of the Bucyrus Police Department; they’re confident in the effort, which makes us feel really good, too.

“We’re feeling good.”