Council hears Sidney Alive update

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — A Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA, is being considered for downtown Sidney.

Sidney Alive Executive Director Amy Breinich provided information about creating the outdoor drinking space during Monday’s Sidney City Council meeting.

A DORA allows patrons who are 21 and older to purchase alcoholic beverages from an approved, liquor-permitted establishment, and then “sip, stroll, shop and explore” within designated boundaries, Breinich explained.

A DORA is good for downtown Sidney, she said, because it will help promote the downtown as a destination for dining, retail and entertainment. It will also increase foot traffic to retailers; decrease Sidney Alive’s costs for special events, such as beer gardens; allow downtown liquor establishments to serve alcohol that patrons can enjoy outside during special events; and increase downtown businesses’s sales.

The following steps must be taken to establish a DORA:

• Sidney City Council and Shelby County Commissioners must create legislation establishing the boundaries and time frame the DORA is open;

• Identify DORA participants by gearing them with wristbands and specific, identifying cups;

• Identify establishments which hold allowed liquor licenses as DORA businesses;

• Identify DORA-friendly retail shops;

• Install signs that outlines boundaries and hours;

• The DORA opens for business.

Patrons’ procedures would include the following:

• Buy DORA identification, which may be a specific cup and dated wristband. The fee would cost a $1-2 and will be good at every participating establishment.

• Purchase drink in a to-go DORA cup at a DORA designated establishment.

• Drink, stroll and shop inside the DORA boundaries. Signage will be posted to direct patrons.

• Patrons must finish their drink before entering before entering another DORA designated establishment, such as another bar or restaurant that serves alcohol. Alcoholic drinks are not allowed to be carried in from the outside.

DORA patrons may not do the following:

• Bring their own drinks into the district;

• Walk around without a designated DORA plastic container. Cans, glass or outside drinks are not permitted.

• Walk around with a DORA drink without an official, dated DORA bracelet for that day

• Take a beverage purchased at one liquor serving establishment into another liquor establishment.

• Act up “like a fool” in an inappropriate manner.

“This is not a party — that is not what we are looking to do at all,” Breinich said. “We want people to come here and find something that’s different than in other communities.”

Currently Sidney Alive is currently working to establish boundaries “that make sense.” Breinich said DORA boundaries can expand as more businesses participate. A minimum of four participating liquor establishments are necessary to begin the process; currently there are three.

She also gave council members an update on completed 2019 activities and other plans for 2020.

Breinich said 2019 was a great year for the organization with several events and activities held in addition to the following:

• Supported Shelby County Bicentennial celebrations;

• Hired Sheila Keykens as event coordinator;

• Began working on a downtown and riverfront redevelopment plan in partnership with SSEP, Sidney Visitors Bureau, the city of Sidney, Shelby County and private investors;

• Joined the community rebranding efforts;

• Worked with several business and property owners to support their hard work;

• Attended continuing education pertaining to nonprofit leadership, revitalization and more.

This year, Sidney alive plans the following:

• Music & Arts Festival, June 19-20

In partnership with Raise the Roof for the Arts, the organizations plan for the Sidney Music & Arts Festival to bring local, regional, and artists to downtown Sidney.

She invited council members to immerse themselves in the great music to be performed on two stages, the talented artists and makers, the United Way Kids Zone, the Great Sidney Farmers Market and more.

“Our great downtown restaurants and food trucks will provide great food to tantalize your tastes buds to complete the experience. Stay tuned for more details,” Breinich said.

Area businesses can sponsor the event. So far, they have raised nearly $40,000 for the event. Organizers are currently booking for the juried Art Show, bands and food trucks. Other staple elements are also coming together, she noted.

• Paddles, Pedals, & Pints, Sept. 12

The event is being planned in conjunction with Sidney Parks Department to raising money for construction of the Great Miami Riverway Bike Trail and its maintenance.

The day will feature a bike tour, kayak trip, kickball tournament, and other activities. It will include food trucks, Craft Beer, and soda tasting, so that children can participate.

The Great Miami Riverway is already a sponsor, but they will be seeking additional sponsors for the event.

• Downtown Sidney Holiday Lights Grand Illumination, Nov. 25

After considering negative feedback about lights not being on from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and discussing it with the city of Sidney and Shelby County and their staff, it was determined to hold the Grand Illumination on Wednesday evening at sundown.

The lighting ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. sharp, with a short program immediately before lighting up the downtown for the holiday season. Spectators are asked to gather on the courthouse square to see the lighting. Programming will take place primarily on the east side of the courthouse lawn. Breinich suggested to come early and stay late to dine and visit downtown businesses.

She said did they received great feedback about moving the Winter Wonderland Parade to the first Saturday in December.

Aside from January’s Prom Dress Consignment Sale and the Bicentennial Ball in February, other 2020 events include:

• April 11: Easter Egg Hunt on the Square

• April 21-2: Hidden Spaces, Secret Places

• May 2: Kentucky Derby Affair on the Square

• May 23 to Oct. 10: The Great Sidney Farmer’s Market

• July 18: Chalk the Walk

• Aug. 4: National Night Out

• Aug. 14: The Amazing Downtown Race

• Sept. 3: Open Air Dinner on the Square

• Oct. 1: Annual Downtown Chocolate Walk

• Oct. 10: Boos & Brews Fall Festival

• Nov. 11-14: Holiday Shop Hop

• Dec. 5: Winter Wonderland Parade/Christmas of Yesteryear

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.