Letter: Vote ‘Yes’ for Troy DORA

To the Editor:

As a business owner in Troy for the past 20-plus years, I am asking you for vote “Yes” for DORA. DORA refers to Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area. The state of Ohio approved DORAs in 2015. Since that time, over 60 DORAs are in existence in the state. DORAs are seen as providing potential for economic development and exposure for communities alike and I agree. I have heard all the naysayers…. “There will be drunks falling all over downtown,” “Kids downtown will be exposed to and given alcohol,” “It will ruin our downtown,” “Crime will increase.” Have the naysayers done research around the state of Ohio to see what good DORA is actually doing for towns and that the problems they cite simply don’t exist?

Here are some quotes from communities that I have found:

“Our downtown has gotten some great exposure from it,” said Shelby Quinlivan, spokesperson for the city of Middletown, the first to set up and outdoor drinking zone in Ohio. “It connects the downtown area.”

“I believe communities thrive because they do things that set themselves apart from other communities. And communities that do participate in DORAs right now are more progressive, thriving cities. If this didn’t work, I don’t think the state would allow this,” said Mark Mills, Mayor, Coshocton.

Beth Cormack, executive director of Coshocton Behavioral Health, was against the idea as it could be another way to foster alcohol abuse. However, she researched DORAs across the nation and could not find problem rising from them related to public drunkenness or other crimes.

“Both in the trips we took to Hamilton, Ohio, and the polling of other communities, all of these communities came back and said they did not have to hire additional police officers,” Sharetta Smith, chief of ctaff to the Mayor of Lima said. “In fact, the police officer in Hamilton pointed out that the increased number of persons in the area was a deterrent for criminal activity.”

I know other business are excited about this and what it can bring to the downtown. I think it is a great thing for Troy and our businesses. DORA will not be 24/7. It has specific times of noon to 10 p.m., Thursday through Saturday. Local governments still have control and can make changes as needed. Tipp City canceled their DORA for the car show on a Friday night a few weeks ago. Health and Safety guidelines are still required. This is not a free for all on alcohol.

Businesses need to constantly change to be viable, relevant, and successful all the time. Troy needs to do the same. We cannot stay in the same bubble and expect to grow and have a viable downtown. Vote “Yes” for Troy DORA!

— Kathleen Kerber

Troy