The city’s winter Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA), which allows adults to carry and drink open alcoholic beverages outdoors Uptown, ends Jan. 23, and it will return this summer, but the city has begun consideration of operating it year-round, said Oxford Assistant City Manager Jessica Greene.
Greene explained that Oxford’s City Council had asked the administration to explore the idea of operating the DORA all year, because they feel it has succeeded during its summer and winter sessions. She said she plans on working with City Manager Doug Elliott with the hope of preparing a proposal for council in late February or early March.
The original mission of the DORA was to promote business Uptown during times when most Miami University students were on break.
“Our goal with having the DORA open during the winter months is to encourage locals to come Uptown and just hang out Uptown,” Greene said. Participants can carry drinks around in specially labeled cups provided by participating businesses. The DORA area is bounded by Church and Walnut Streets on the north and south, and by Beech Street and Campus Avenue on the east and west.
The city has used the DORA in conjunction with different events held Uptown, such as last weekend’s Chocolate Meltdown, to encourage more people to come Uptown.
“I did see adults go in [to participating bars and restaurants] and bring those beverages out during the event,” Greene said. “So, to me, that was an indication… this type of thing does help our local businesses, even if it’s a small scale.”
The DORA usually begins the weekend after students move out in the spring and at the end of the fall semester, and it ends the weekend before they return for the fall and spring semesters. The current DORA designation began Dec. 17. A full list of businesses participating in the DORA program can be found on the Enjoy Oxford website.