SIDNEY — Sidney City Council is considering expanding the days and hours of the downtown Sidney Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA). Legislation on the matter was introduced during City Council’s Monday evening meeting.
City Manager Mark Cundiff said City Council heard a one-year review and discussed the possibility of expanding the hours of the DORA during its Aug. 23, 2021, meeting. During that meeting, Sidney Alive Executive Director Amy Breinich reported the DORA had no negative impact on downtown Sidney and asked council to consider expanding the DORA’s days and hours of operation. She noted the expansion would accommodate businesses serving Saturday brunch as well as the Great Sidney Farmer’s Market wine sales.
Currently the DORA hours, which council OK’d the implementation of in August 2020, are:
• Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight;
• Saturday from noon to midnight;
• Sunday from noon -10 p.m.
The new proposed days and hours for the DORA are:
• Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight;
• Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight;
• Saturday from 8 a.m. to midnight;
• Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.
The proposed ordinance also will allow City Council to expand the hours in connection with special events within the DORA, Cundiff noted.
Council members collectively expressed delight with the success and lack of problems of the DORA. Council member Ed Hamaker asked if once the Saturday farmer’s market ends for the year, if the DORA would still be open during the new Saturday hours. Breinich told Hamaker the hours would allow for those enjoying shopping downtown and brunch. Cundiff also eluded to the hours being favorable for patrons coming downtown to enjoy watching Ohio State Buckeye football games before noon.
Mayor Mike Barhorst asked if changing these hours to make the DORA open during most all times would take away its uniqueness. Breinich said the expanded days through the week will help downtown businesses open in the evening gain more traffic. Also, she said hopefully the Historic Sidney Theatre will be added in with the DORA and it will be beneficial for its events.
During a call for public comments on the matter, East North Street resident Ben Breinich thanked City Council for allowing the implementation of the DORA and said he hopes council will accept the proposed expansion. He also said, “just having a DORA in the downtown is a unique (concept) in general to be able to have drinks outside.” He noted it is great to be able to welcome family from out of town and go enjoy and explore the downtown together while having a drink.
In other business, council was also introduced to an ordinance to assess the cost of the removal of litter or junk or weed cutting for outstanding invoices through Aug. 17, 2021, and remain outstanding as of Sept. 15. For weed mowing violations, the invoiced amount is the actual cost of the mowing plus $75 for the first weed cutting, $150 for the second cutting and $250 for each cutting thereafter. For junk removal violations, the invoiced amount is the actual cost of the junk removal plus 20%. A total of 31 properties will be assessed a total of $11,223.80 for junk removal and 58 properties will be assessed $21,963.35 for weed mowing.
Monday was City Finance Manager Ginger Adams last City Council meeting before retiring in October. Cundiff praised her diligent protection of the city’s finances and her good work. Council members expressed gratitude and well wishes, and sang “Happy Birthday” to celebrate her birthday on the previous day. Adams spoke of her excitement about retirement and thanked City Council, city staff and senior staff members for the great years she has worked for the city of Sidney.
During comments at the end of the meeting, Fire Chief Chad Hollinger reminded all fire prevention week is Oct. 3-9. He invited the public and urged council members to attend an upcoming educational open house night of family, food and fun on Oct. 4 from 5 to 7 p.m at Fire Station 1 on Poplar Street.
Parks and Recreation Director Duane Gaier shared a new “Story Walk” will be unveiled in Tawawa Park on Oct. 6 to encourage reading and physical activity for children.
Cundiff shared the following:
• Sidney’s residential electric aggregation program will change from Dynegy Energy to Energy Harbor, LLC in December.
• The final draft of the Sidney Zoning Code is available on the city’s website. He encouraged residents to review it.
• The city’s application for ODOT grant funds for Campbell Road improvements was denied. He said, although he will be gone, the city will need to reapply again next year and/or determine what the plan will be to redo that area.
In final action, City Council also went into an executive session to discuss possible investment or expenditure of public funds to be made in connection with an economic development project. No action was taken by council when members came out of the meeting.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.