Gahanna: Creekside Outdoor Refreshment Area on tap Oct. 21

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group
These logos of the Creekside Outdoor Refreshment Area will appear on trash cans, cups, wristbands and other signs that are required as part of approved legislation.

Gahanna residents can raise their glasses to toast the city’s new Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area beginning Oct. 21, when it’s scheduled to begin. 

The district that will be known in Gahanna as the Creekside Outdoor Refreshment Area will be in effect from 3 to 11 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.

The DORA – or CORA, as it will be called in Gahanna's Creekside district – will allow visitors in Olde Gahanna to enjoy an alcoholic beverage while walking within certain areas, thanks to City Council’s unanimous approval Aug. 17.

Nostalgia Brewing (far left) is one of six businesses that will participate in the Creekside Outdoor Refreshment Area that's scheduled to begin Oct. 21.

The boundaries are Big Walnut Creek to the west, High Street to the east, Granville Street to the south and North Street to the north.

Since council's approval of an ordinance that allows the CORA to be established, Mayor Laurie Jadwin said, the team at the city has been working with the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control to finalize legalities and with the Creekside District Alliance to confirm all the logistical details around its operation.  

“We want to do everything that we can to ensure that our local businesses are set up for success and that they are fully prepared to offer an experience that is positive for them and for their patrons,” Jadwin said.

Carrin Wester, city communications manager, said six qualified permit holders will participate: Barrel & Boar, Local Cantina, Signatures Mill Stone Tavern, Old Bag of Nails & Pour House Tavern, Nostalgia Brewing and Stadium Bar & Grill.

Shawn White, owner of Nostalgia Brewing, said Creekside is such a beautiful area and the businesses hope the CORA is just the ticket to capture the attention of those who might not realize what sits behind their buildings.

“Small businesses, like the ones participating in CORA, are struggling due to the reduced capacities and shortened hours,” he said. “CORA will allow us all the opportunity to expand our service and still maintain a safe environment. It should be a little normalcy in what has been a very abnormal year.”

Kristen Fox, an attorney who practices in the Creekside area, along with her husband, Kelly, co-founded the Creekside District Alliance and is a current board member. 

“The CDA was formed to align and unify Creekside-area businesses and residents that have a vested interest in the growth, development and success of the Creekside area,” she said. 

Fox said the board, which also includes Lew Griffin, president; Brad Fisher, vice president; Kelly Law, treasurer, and Christine Bricker, secretary, as well as the owners and/or managers of several key establishments in the district, has been critical in doing the legwork and working with the city to bring CORA to fruition.

She said the opening of the CORA during a time of heightened health concerns is a huge benefit, allowing a properly screened guest to purchase an adult beverage from a participating establishment and enjoy that beverage in the open air of the CORA boundaries. 

“Ultimately, guests will have peace of mind of being able to socially distance themselves, which can sometimes be a challenge indoors at peak times,” Fox said.

Jeff Spence, Gahanna Division of Police chief, said he is committed to making the refreshment area an enjoyable, safe, successful and community-friendly environment.

“As is true with any new process, it will be a learning experience, and there will be some adjustments that likely have to be made as interest grows,” he said.

Jadwin said the project has been years in the making and is the result of a strong collaborative effort among the city, the Creekside District Alliance and the business owners who will be participating.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla