Noblesville discusses designated outdoor refreshment area

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — You may soon be allowed to walk around downtown Noblesville with an adult beverage in your hand. 

The idea has seen success already across the country, and some places here in Indiana.

With Gov. Eric Holcomb signing off on these designated outdoor refreshment areas, or DORA, in 2023, Noblesville has been eager to get involved.

“We have tons of festivals in our downtown, great restaurants, great bars, great shopping,” said Mayor Chris Jensen. “If we can make that experience more enjoyable for people to stay longer, to shop longer, we want to do that.”

There are already 11 businesses on board with being designated permittees, and the city expects a lot more interest.

“It gives them a chance to get the product they want and go to the place they want. They can do both, and so I think that’s a great thing,” said Mark Littler, co-owner of Noble Coffee and Tea Co. and one of the businesses involved.

Beer, wine and mixed drinks will be served in to-go cups marked with a DORA logo and businesses that want to participate will have a sign at their door.

“We have been in lockstep with our public safety officials, as we’ve rolled this out,” said Jensen. “We want to do this in a way that is safe and legal and enforceable.”

Community members have had an overwhelmingly positive response as long as adults enjoy the boozy beverages responsibly.

“As far as cons, you know, we hope that all of the adults that are going to be able to participate in this program, continue to act like adults,” said Littler.

With a limit of two drinks at a time and 365 days a year, vendors outside of the area can also participate in special events. 

“We’ve done several, like Block Party type events, and it’ll be a huge help with those,” added Littler.

The ordinance will be revisited at the April 23rd city council meeting. If approved, it will be submitted to the state for adoption.

The city hopes the DORA could kick off sometime this summer if all goes to plan.

To learn more about the potential Noblesville DORA, click here.

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