ROSSFORD — The city administration, during Monday’s council meeting, presented a draft application for a designated outdoor refreshment area to go downtown.
“I think it is vital for the revitalization of the downtown,” Mayor Neil MacKinnon said in a followup interview. “If we truly want to be a live, work and play development and to have a vibrant downtown, there are certain steps we need to take. There are other municipalities, Perrysburg, Maumee, Sylvania and Toledo, have all done this in their downtowns, along with Perrysburg doing it in Levis Commons.
“If we want to retain and attract investment and revitalize our downtown and be able to compete against other municipalities, this is one of the steps we need to take,” MacKinnon said. “Everybody is doing it around us, and they are doing it successfully, so doing nothing is not an option.
The DORA would allow alcohol to be purchased from four downtown restaurants, in special cups and carried out of the establishment and into other businesses.
The DORA will be comprised of approximately 25 acres on the north side Dixie Highway, in front of 146 Dixie Hwy., and proceeding west to the intersection of Eagle Point Road and Dixie Highway, crossing the street and extending to 969 Dixie Hwy. on the east side of the road only. It will also include Superior Street from 153 Superior St. to the intersection of Glenwood Road and Superior Street.
There will be special signage indicating the boundaries and beverage containers.
The Rossford Police Division will provide public safety.
Sanitation will be provided in a plan by the Rossford Department of Public Works, which anticipates the possibility of needing another employee and 15 additional waste containers.
The proposed hours of operation for sale of a DORA beverage are from 4-10 p.m., Monday through Friday, and noon-10 p.m. on weekends and holidays. The patron has until 11 p.m. to consume the beverage.
Ohio Revised Code requires that a municipal corporation with a population of 50,000 or less requires at least two qualified liquor permit holders. Rossford’s population, as of the 2020 census, is 6,299.
Four liquor establishments are within the proposed boundaries, including Billy V’s, at 159 Superior St., Ohio Danny’s at 600 Dixie Hwy., Ohio Forest View Rossford Lanes,at 969 Dixie Hwy. and Moe’s, at 612 Dixie Hwy.
The application was presented to council by City Administrator Allyson Murray, who commented on the location of the school relative to the DORA.
“It completely leaves out the school. Nobody will ever be traveling in or around the school area,” Murray said.
In a followup interview she gave her understanding of a timeline for the process, which she said was early.
“Once council is satisfied with everything in the application, they will pass an ordinance to authorize me to send the final application to the state,” Murray said. “I am not sure how long it takes for the state to approve it.”
After the presentation, Councilman Robert Ruse voiced opposition to aspects of the application. He and MacKinnon exchanged some words.
“It’s supporting the bars in downtown Rossford,” Ruse said. “We’re building a parking lot next to a bar. We’re building an outdoor area next to another bar. That’s what we’re supporting.”
“Please don’t tell me what I’m supporting,” MacKinnon replied. “ I’m supporting, now and in the future, the downtown.”
“The people who seem to have a problem with these things have never been to one,” MacKinnon said later. “Go to Perrysburg during the farmer’s market, or go to Levis Commons. These (complaints) are almost all about nothing. Put a drink in a cup, if you want one, and you walk from place to place. It’s not a big deal. It’s actually quite fun and relaxing, especially if the weather is good.
“It’s being done all over. It’s successful. It’s fun. People enjoy it. There’s been no problems that I know of, and I’ve researched this to death. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s go,” he said.