Smaller DORA in Salem

Committee recommends scaled back version after event concerns raised

SALEM – City council’s Rules & Ordinances Committee scaled back plans previously discussed for a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area in downtown, opting to recommend a smaller footprint, shorter timespan and hours and prohibit DORA during the Salem Super Cruise.

“I think if we start too big, we’re going to fail,” Councilwoman Cyndi Baronzzi Dickey said.

Dickey chairs the committee and first talked about the idea earlier this fall, originally stating that she wanted to start small and see how it goes, then they could expand it further if they find it’s working out. At the last meeting, though, with businesses and organizations who would be part of the DORA, there were a lot of big ideas thrown around, with those present wanting hours Thursday through Sunday starting at 10 a.m. for three days and later on Sundays and having the DORA in effect every weekend from March through November.

“I think we got a little ahead of ourselves,” Dickey said.

Councilman Andrew Null agreed, and the two of them proceeded to work out a smaller area for the DORA and decided against having it during the cruise after Gene Johnson of the Cruisin’ Crew suggested they not have the alcohol outdoors due to his concerns for the cars and for their volunteers, some which may include high school kids next year. Johnson said he would pull out of the cruise if the DORA was happening then. The cruise is set for June 11-14 (some incorrect dates were listed in a story last week).

Both Null and Dickey agreed to nix the DORA for this year’s cruise and maybe revisit it the following year after they’ve had a chance to see what the DORA is like.

They chose Memorial Day through Labor Day as the time frame, plus for events as approved by council, selected Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays as the days and from noon to 10 p.m. as the hours. They also reduced the DORA area, using South Lincoln as the border to the east, Second Street to the north, part of Howard and Ellsworth to the west and down to Railroad Street and along Columbia to the south. The area would include Broadway and Penn and Pershing and businesses on the edge like the Flying Pig at Second and Ellsworth and the chamber building at State and Lincoln, but not Reilly Stadium.

“You  have to draw the line somewhere. We don’t want this to be a free-for-all,” Dickey said.

A group of city residents who attend Bible Holiness Chapel on McCracken Road expressed their opinion against the DORA idea at any time, with one man asking how the open drinking benefits the community or whether it just hurts the community. Null explained that they’ve seen where other communities have had success with it and this could be a way to generate interest in the town.

“We think we can make this a good positive thing for the community,” he said, adding they’re trying to “make the best set of circumstances for everybody.”

Rev. Domenick Pietro, who described himself as an evangelist, said the DORA was going to lead to the degradation of the community and going to hurt the community morally.

“I feel like this is only going to hurt the city of Salem,” he said.

Councilman Steve Faber, who was present but isn’t on the committee, also expressed some concerns about having the DORA all the time, wondering if it would be more special and attract more people if just based on events, which is how the city of Columbiana does it.

Next the committee will be looking at the safety and sanitation plans, signage costs, cups and the use of wristbands, sometime in January.


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