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Fort Wayne’s New Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area

Mayor Sharon Tucker and the City of Fort Wayne’s Community Development Division in partnership with Downtown Fort Wayne, announced the official start date of Sunday, May 5, for the City’s first Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, located in downtown Fort Wayne. The “Downtown DORA” received its final approval from the Fort Wayne City Council in late December of last year and final state approval in March.

“DORA provides an opportunity for residents and visitors to enjoy hospitality offerings in a new way,” said Jonathan Leist, director of the City of Fort Wayne’s Community Development Division. “The partnership is designed to make a positive impact on our community and highlight our growing and thriving downtown.”

A Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) allows individuals aged twenty-one (21) and above to buy alcoholic beverages from authorized vendors and retail outlets to carry and consume them inside the DORA boundaries.

The Downtown DORA generally extends along Calhoun Street and Harrison Street between Promenade Park and Parkview Field and includes most nearby restaurants within a block of the corridor. Signage containing a map of the Downtown DORA will be posted throughout the district and at its boundaries. Signage will also be visible in the proposed designated retail permittee(s) and vendor locations. Participating businesses and vendors include The Landing, Botanical Conservatory, PNC Plaza, JK O’Donnell’s, Dash-In, Pint & Slice, Tolon, Copper Spoon, The Sidecar, Mercado, Papi’s Pizza, Nawa, Proximo, teds Snack + Bar, Night Train, Dana’s, Bistro Nota, The Porch Off Calhoun, and Marquee.

“We’re so pleased that Downtown Fort Wayne will host the first DORA in the city,” said Downtown Fort Wayne President & CEO Michael Galbraith. “Supporting our amazing restaurants and bars by allowing their patrons to take advantage of our public spaces has been a goal for a few years, and we’re thankful for the collaborative effort between the State and the City that allowed this to happen.”

Participants are reminded:

  • Any alcoholic drinks carried out of establishments within the DORA must be in a designated cup provided by the establishment.
  • Within the DORA, these cups are allowed between 11 a.m. and 3 a.m., seven days a week.
  • Participants are encouraged to read the DORA regulations on the official signage and use the designated recycling containers.

Fort Wayne’s DORA promotes social interaction, fostering community and camaraderie among locals and tourists alike. Establishing a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area in Fort Wayne will have a multifaceted positive impact, enhancing the city’s social fabric, economic vitality, tourism appeal, and public safety measures. It embodies Fort Wayne’s commitment to creating inclusive, dynamic, and enjoyable urban spaces for its residents and visitors.

The DORA is poised to benefit local businesses, particularly restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues in the designated area. It will increase revenue due to higher foot traffic and longer stays. It is expected to attract new businesses and investment, catalyzing Fort Wayne’s economic vitality.

The Indiana General Assembly, in the 2023 legislative session, passed SEA 20, which allows municipalities to enact an ordinance creating a DORA. Municipalities can limit DORA hours or days, but each operational DORA counts toward the maximum seven allowed. In nearby cities such as Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Toledo, DORA’s have contributed towards revitalization by increasing foot traffic and stimulating economic growth and creating a vibrant social scene.

Find the full map of DORA areas within downtown Fort Wayne here: in.gov/atc/files/Fort-Wayne-Downtown-DORA-Map.pdf

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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