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Noblesville considers allowing alcohol drinking in Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area

Noblesville considers allowing alcohol drinking in Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Noblesville could allow outdoor drinking of alcohol in the downtown area if the City Council on Tuesday passes an ordinance to create a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area.

Known by the acronym DORA, the special area allows people to carry open containers of alcohol inside it. The Noblesville DORA would include the majority of the downtown area east of the White River and, on the other side of the waterway, extend west to the Federal Hill Commons park.

The goal is to increase foot traffic and encourage people to come downtown.

The DORA would operate from noon-11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays through Sundays.

Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen told News 8 on Friday that the city lobbied Indiana legislators for communities’ ability to create the special drinking districts. The governor signed the proposal into law in July, and at least 11 communities so far have adopted ordinances to allow and regulate and regulating Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas.

The Republican mayor of Noblesville said, “We hope that this gives a boost not only to our restaurant and bar scene downtown, but to our retail scene in downtown, which is overall really critically important to our overall economic vibrancy in our city.”

People taking to-go drinks will be required to use plastic cups labeled with a Noblesville DORA logo, and finish their drinks before entering another bar or restaurant.

“This is done in a uniform way so they will be in plastic DORA-designated cups,” Jensen said. “They can take them into establishments that have signage that allow them to be in there.”

Downtown bars are on board; about a dozen have signed up to be participating locations.

Michael Smith, general manager of Syd’s Fine Food and Spirits, told News 8 on April 12, “You’ll be able to come to Syd’s and you’ll be able to grab a pint or a cocktail, walk around the (Hamilton County Courthouse) Square, go to some of the shops that are around here, and kind of keep people in the downtown Noblesville area.”

Smith says the Noblesville DORA will be good for the city.

“People are going to be able to come in with their families, get a drink, come out to the Square, hang out with their families on the Square instead of in a bar atmosphere. I think it’s a really good thing for downtown Noblesville and all the young families coming in.”

Customers at Syd’s agreed with the city’s plan.

Darren Peck, a Noblesville resident, said, “Noblesville’s got many downtown attractions — car shows, Bridge of Flowers, Federal Hill park — and it will be great that you will not be restricted to just the bar.”

Adam Grubb, another resident, said, “It’s just a nice addition to the city as it continues to change.”

A city official tells News 8 that Noblesville Police Department will have foot and bike patrols downtown, and has collaborated on a public safety plan for the special drinking district.

Noblesville City Council heard the first reading of the bill April 9. The second reading and the public hearing will be on Tuesday. The council will have the chance to vote to approve the ordinance at Tuesday’s meeting.

The Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission says 11 communities have already set up Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas: Batesville, Fort Wayne, Greensburg, Huntingburg, Jasper, Jeffersonville, Kirklin, Lawrenceburg, Shelbyville, Winona Lake, and Yorktown.

Wisconsin and Ohio are among other states with DORAs.

(Provided Image/Noblesville City Government)