Powell could take advantage of a state law that allows open containers of alcohol in certain areas during special events or specific times.

The city's development committee is considering a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, called a DORA.

Middletown became the first city in the state to enact a DORA after Ohio House Bill 47 was signed into law in 2015, according to that city's website.

The law allows cities or townships to designate one outdoor area in which participants can purchase alcoholic beverages from set locations and take them outside in the allotted area.

Delaware, Hilliard, Worthington, Chillicothe and Toledo all have approved DORAs. This year's New Moon Half and Quarter Marathon in Delaware was the first event to take advantage of the city's DORA.

The law does not allow alcoholic beverages to be brought in from outside, and all Ohio liquor laws still would apply. Beverages must be purchased from a vendor operating within the DORA boundaries.

Originally, the law limited DORAs to cities with more than 35,000 people. A provision in 2017 gave smaller cities the opportunity to establish the districts.

"The city right now is in the very preliminary stages of discussion," said city spokeswoman Megan Canavan. "We do have quite a few restaurants and bars in our downtown area and we see this as an economic benefit and an enhancement to the overall area during special events."

Any proposed DORA legislation would require approval from Powell City Council.

Worthington last year implemented a DORA in is historic downtown along U.S. Route 23. The DORA "will serve to enhance the experiences of the patrons of the business establishments and the special events within the downtown Worthington area," the legislation said.

Some communities have designated times in which the DORA takes effect -- for example, every weekend evening. Others use it only for specific events.

Powell likely would use the DORA only for special events, such as street markets and the annual car cruise-in, Canavan said.

Most communities that have the districts require sanitation plans and signs that clearly mark the boundaries.

The committee is hoping to hear feedback from businesses and is working with the police department to address public safety concerns, Canavan said.

"One idea that we had discussed was that everyone participating in the DORA would have special cups," she said.

The development committee is expected to discuss the DORA legislation at its next meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Village Green Municipal Building, 47 Hall St.

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