Columbiana plans 3 more summer DORA events

COLUMBIANA — The city’s first Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) was such a success that three more DORA events are scheduled for this summer.

Walter Kukla of the Alive at 5 Committee asked city council for approval of the events during the Tuesday council meeting.

The Alive at 5 committee hosted the first DORA event on June 8 in partnership with the Columbiana Area Chamber of Commerce’s Block Party.

A DORA allows for the open carry of alcohol during specific events and specific hours that are first approved by city council.

Council gave its approval for the new DORAs, with the exception of Councilman Dan Bekar who abstained, and council member Crystal Siembida-Boggs, who was absent.

The DORAs were each voted on by council individually, with the first scheduled for 5-9 p.m. July 12, again in partnership with the chamber’s Block Party.

Council approved the remaining two events with a stipulation that a council review be done after the July 12 DORA to see if there were any problems or concerns, and if so, the future DORAs will not be enacted.

The other DORAs are scheduled for 5-9 p.m. Aug. 2, also during the chamber’s Block Party, and 3-8 p.m. on Aug. 24, in conjunction with a brand new Chalk Festival the city is organizing with help from the Columbiana First Committee.

The Chalk Festival will be held Aug. 24 and 25, while the DORA will only be enacted on Aug. 24.

Kukla said that all alcohol sales will end at 8 p.m. on July 12 and Aug. 2, while the DORA will remain open until 9 p.m. in order to allow for a more organized clearing of the streets.

“It allows us to slowly open the streets back up rather than trying to do it all at once and trying to have traffic moving again. It will just be easier in terms of crowd control,” he explained.

He said the first DORA event attracted a crowd of over 1,000 people.

“I think it is pretty safe to say that everybody had an increase in foot traffic, if not an increase in sales,” Kukla said of the businesses that participated in the DORA that was enacted along and around Main Street in the downtown business district.

“There were no issues … it was overwhelming. I think it was a great success,” he added.

Police Chief Tim Gladis said there were no complaints to the police department or reports made in connection with the June 8 DORA while it was going on, although some people did express a few concerns after the fact.

East Park Avenue resident Kay Shafer was not pleased, however.

Shafer spoke to council during the public portion of the meeting, which was after council already voted on the future DORA events, saying she was representing a lot of people – mainly church members and the elderly – who are not in favor of the DORA.

“I have talked to several people that are pretty upset about it in town. We are trying to find out how it got passed without going to a ballot,” she said.

Mayor Bryan Blakeman said there is no requirement for a DORA to be placed on an election ballot, but that she and others who oppose have the right to appeal through a petition in order for it to go on a ballot.

“Why do we want people walking around with open containers? You could clearly smell (marijuana). Is this something we want to project as a community,” Shafer said.

Earlier in the meeting Kukla said the goal of the DORA is to bring people in Columbiana and get people out of their houses and meet people.Shafer also complained to council about the amount of noise that came from a live band that was playing at the Birdfish Brewing Co. on Park Avenue during the June 8 DORA.

She wondered if the city has a noise ordinance, which Gladis said it does not.

City Manager Lance Willard said he already spoke with BirdFish about the complaint and that it likely wouldn’t happen again.