CINCINNATI — Cincinnati could soon have a second Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) coming to Westwood early next year.
Along Harrison Avenue, 14 acres of space between Kling and Statham Avenues are proposed to be included in the Westwood DORA. If approved, it’ll be launched by the Westwood Civic Association, which will create a DORA Management Association to handle maintenance, signage and more.
“It really fits the boundaries as what was designated an entertainment district a decade ago,” said Greg Hand, president of the Westwood Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation.
Hand said the idea really took off during the pandemic.
“Thankfully, the Recreation Commission and the Park Board allowed the neighborhood businesses to set up little outdoor areas in the Westwood Town Hall Park. It was during that experience of saving the businesses by providing this outdoor area that someone suggested, 'Look, there’s this thing called a DORA,’” he said.
Nine businesses within the proposed DORA hold a liquor permit, including Nation, Muse Cafe and West Side Brewing.
“It would be instrumental. There’s so much going on; there’s new restaurants and bars coming in. It would even go as far as helping food trucks,” said Adam Wiggins, general manager at West Side Brewing. “Speaking from the West Side, you want to do more. We want to get bigger, stronger, faster. This will help.”
Currently, the only DORA in Cincinnati is at the Banks, but the concept has been adopted in multiple areas throughout the Tri-State region. Cheviot, Hamilton, Milford, Wyoming and Bellevue, Kentucky have all implemented some form of a DORA district. In October, it was announced that Hyde Park was also considering a DORA district.
Cincinnati has been granted four permits for DORA districts within the city. Currently, the only permit in use is for the district at the Banks.
Although the Westwood DORA has significant support, Hand acknowledged that some people have voiced their concerns.
“They weren’t really familiar with how things worked during COVID,” he said. “It really worked well. We did not have a problem.”
Pedestrian safety has also been a concern.
“This is going on concurrently with a plan… to do traffic calming on Harrison Avenue,” said Hand.
Wiggins said steps to make the area more pedestrian-friendly have already been implemented.
“They recently did a bump-out, which has helped slow it down. We’ve got these crosswalks that have these orange flags on them,” said Wiggins.
The City Planning Commission will consider the DORA before city council votes on whether to approve it.
Supporters of the DORA hope to have it up and running early next year.