The following memo to Worthington City Council was sent last week to Matt Greeson for distribution to city council members.  It concerns the proposed D.O.R.A. for Old Worthington.

To: Worthington City Council May 8, 2017

From: Old Worthington Association Trustees

Re: Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA)

The Old Worthington Association (OWA) Board of Trustees is writing to express its position on the proposed D.O.R.A. in Old Worthington.

  1. OWA supports the mission of the Old Worthington Partnership. This “main street” group is working to encourage the creation of a vibrant, economically successful downtown for Worthington. We join the City of Worthington, which helps support the organization financially, in wanting to be a good partner in this work.

  2. With this in mind, OWA supports the establishments of designated alcohol consumption areas in front of the Old Worthington restaurants, such as Whitney House, that currently do not have these areas. Consistent with state law, we encourage Worthington City Council to support the creation of these areas in a way that clearly designates them, but that does not require fencing.

  3. OWA gives its qualified support for the proposed D.O.R.A. Our qualification relates to our concern that a “drinking district” is largely unwarranted in Old Worthington. This is particularly true if all the restaurants located in Old Worthington can serve alcoholic beverages in designated areas. However, we also understand that “sipping and strolling” on High Street south of the Village Green to South Street is a potentially reasonable option for a very limited number of events. We say this assuming that the City of Worthington will manage these events effectively – and that public safety will be a paramount concern – and that the business beneficiaries of these events will pay additional fees as necessary so that taxpayers are not required to subsidize the sale of alcoholic beverages.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Our qualification also extends to the matter of an objective, substantive evaluation of what works and what doesn’t work with regard to the functioning of the proposed DORA. This should be an important priority for the City of Worthington.

  4. OWA flatly opposes “sip and stroll” alcoholic beverage consumption during the Farmer’s Market. We believe that this successful, family-focused event will not be “enhanced” by the consumption of alcoholic beverages outside of designated restaurant establishments (indoors and outdoors). This event runs from approximately 8 am to noon on Saturdays from May through October. Adding more drinking to this event serves no constructive purpose. It is also problematic in a society that is continually challenged by the realities of drug and alcohol abuse with the former producing a state of crisis in Ohio and nationally. And these problems also impact Worthington.

Thank you for your consideration of this memorandum. OWA stands ready to discuss our position and related public policy issues. We believe that intelligent, common sense decision-making is particularly important given the public safety related issues at stake with regard to the proposed DORA.

c. Matt Greeson, Worthington City Manager