Outdoor beverage district (DORA) proposed for downtown Warsaw

Establishment of a DORA district would mean adults could enjoy adult beverages while attending downtown festivals such as the annual Fat & Skinny Tire Fest. News Now Warsaw file photo by Dan Spalding.
By Dan Spalding
News Now

WARSAW — The city of Warsaw appears to be following suit with Winona Lake — and other Indiana communities — in establishing a new policy in which downtown patrons can consume alcohol beverages outside of the where they bought the beverage.

The proposal is known as DORA ,which is short for Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area.

The state legislature opened the door for such local policies last year when it passed legislation, and Winona Lake Town Council embraced the concept soon afterward by  establishing a DORA district for The Village at Winona.

Warsaw City Council began entertaining the idea Tuesday night and took the first step toward establishing its own Dora district in the downtown.

The policy would allow adults to purchase alcoholic drinks from local establishments within the district and then take the drinks outdoors.

The change in policy is expected to be popular during downtown festivals and special events including the Fat & Skinny Bike Festival and seasonal events such as the St. Patrick’s Day Party on South Buffalo Street which has relied for years on a beer tent to accomodate adult beverages in an outdoor atmosphere.

The proposal on Tuesday was pitched by the city plan office and is supported by the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce.

Ten businesses within the proposed district that already have existing alcohol permits have expressed interest in participating.

Those businesses include Mad Anthony Brewing Co., Paradiso, Anthology Whiskey Room, Oku Roji, B+B Courthouse Market, Rocksteady Pizza Parlour, Rex’s Rendezvous, Downtown Eatery & Spirits, One Ten Craft Meatery, and “Ghost Spot – Mi Lindo Acapulco,” which is expected to open soon on West Market Street.

Warsaw City Council passed two preliminary ordinances Tuesday that are needed to establish the district and will take up the subject again next month.

In Winona Lake, the town is preparing to establish its DORA district this spring after they receive final paperwork approving participation of three or four businesses in the Village, according to Town Manager Craig Allebach.

The policy was approved last year with very little opposition, Allebach said.