If Hilliard City Council approves, this summer, residents will be able to walk a section of Main Street while sipping a craft beer or listen to a concert at Hilliard's Station Park while enjoying a glass of wine.
City Council is being asked by Mayor Don Schonhardt to act upon a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, sometimes referred to as a DORA.
"It's a new concept (for us) so we are starting with a conservative approach," Schon-hardt said.
Law director Tracy Bradford said beginning April 30, the Ohio Revised Code will allow cities of 35,000 residents or fewer to establish such an area. Hilliard's population is roughly 31,000.
Within the designated area, people 21 years and older may possess alcohol in public areas and are exempted from open-container prohibitions that otherwise would apply.
At least four liquor-permit holders must be included in the DORA, Bradford said.
Schonhardt identified those four in the Old Hilliard district as Abner's Casual Dining, 4051 Main St.; Otie's Tavern and Grill; 5344 Center St.; Sports on Tap, 4030 Main St.; and Old Bag of Nails Pub, 4065 Main St.
Patrons would have to buy alcohol at one of those locations; by law, they would not be permitted to bring their own, Bradford said.
Hilliard's Station Park also would be included in the outdoor refreshment area, thus allowing alcohol at select concerts and events at the venue, Schonhardt said.
Schonhardt was absent March 13, but City Council members discussed the proposal publicly for the first time and opted to table the proposal until March 27.
Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department director Steve Mazer told City Council members that each of the four locations in the area supports the initiative.
"They are all on board," Mazer said.
Fourteen events have been scheduled tentatively when the DORA would be applied. All of the events are between June 8 and Aug. 10 at Hilliard's Station Park and feature recreation-and-parks programming, such as Celebration at the Station and Flicks on the Bricks.
Each of the events is from 6 p.m. to midnight.
Special-duty police officers and additional trash receptacles would be in place during each of the scheduled events, according to city officials.
"We want a compact area to ensure public safety," said Schonhardt, adding that including Starliner Diner, 4121 Main St., to the northeast, and Local Cantina, 3975 Main St., to the southwest would create "too broad an area."
"It's a new concept and we don't know yet how it will function," he said.
But the proposal isn't compact enough for City Council President Nathan Painter, who said he opposes the DORA in its current form.
"This is brand new to everyone. We haven't tried it," he said.
He suggested the DORA be limited to inside Hilliard's Station Park for its first season.
Other details are also yet be finalized, Mazer said, including an option for businesses to sponsor cups for holding alcohol used at the events.
Libby Gierach, president and CEO of the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce, said she supports the proposed DORA because it would benefit the district as a whole during its use.
Molly Mahoney, owner of Starliner Diner, said she does not think it would place her business at any significant disadvantage but hopes the city might consider enlarging the area if it proves successful.
"I think it's a great idea," Mahoney said.