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Middletown contemplates open container area

Posted at 9:19 AM, Sep 15, 2015

MIDDLETOWN,Ohio -- Middletown could become the first city in Ohio to establish an open container area in an attempt to spur economic growth, according to WCPO media partner, The Journal News.

Middletown City Manager Doug Atkins is expected to make a formal presentation to council on the concept Tuesday.

Atkins will provide details on a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area that will allow open containers of alcohol within a one half-square mile or less area within the city’s entertainment district. The plan also details operating hours, the number of state liquor permit holders in the proposed area; and it creates a safety and sanitation plan, the Journal News reports.

The paper goes on to state that the proposed open container area in Middletown includes Clark Street, Manchester Avenue, South Canal Street, Columbia Avenue including Donham Plaza, North Main Street, including the buildings on the northwest corner of North Main and Central Avenue, Central Avenue to the Great Miami River and around the southern edge of Forest Hills Country Club, Water Street and around the American Legion on South Main Street to First Avenue, to South Canal Street, to Reynolds Avenue to Curtis Street to Central Avenue back to Clark Street.

There are five liquor license holders in the area, and the possibility of a future micro-brewery and hotel. The open container area would be in effect from 6 p.m. to midnight on Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays.

If city council approves the DORA, it will be the first to do so under House Bill 47 that passed the Ohio legislature. The law allows cities or townships with populations ranging from 35,000 to 50,000 to designate one “outdoor refreshment area.” For cities with populations as large as Cincinnati, two DORAs are allowed.

Cincinnati has yet to establish its outdoor drinking areas.