SALEM Council members want to expand the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) all year round and allow special events with the consent of the council.
Normal hours of operation would remain from 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, unless a group requests permission from the council to hold an event on a different day.
“I think it’s a good idea to expand it” Councilor Cyndi Baronzzi Dickey said.
Dickey chairs the Committee of the Whole, which met Monday and voted to send the proposed extension of the DORA period to the city council for consideration, while also serving the Salem Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Salem Partnership, attendees and the public .
The full committee includes all seven council members.
Councilor Andrew Null said he was not against enlargement, just not for enlargement’s sake.
“Let’s make sure it makes sense to do that” he said.
This was the first year for DORA, but the parameters limited the DORA period from Memorial Day to Labor Day, which meant that DORA didn’t start until the week after Memorial Day and end before Labor Day. Dickey said she was told it ended too early and started too late.
Canton runs DORA year round, while Columbiana limits DORA to events only approved by the council.
Dickey said the DORA was underutilized this year. Councilor Ron Zellers asked if there were any places that were not in the DORA designated area and she said the only place that told her anything about not being accepted was the Salem Elks.
“We tried to keep it more downtown because it was more closed.” She said.
Alderman Jake Gano asked if there were any arrests during the DORA, but Dickey said she was unaware of any DORA-related incidents.
Zero was not in favor of including Sundays. Dickey had said that some of the establishments were talking about hosting it for soccer on Sundays.
On other matters, Null raised an issue related to the committees in the Council and asked if alternates could be assigned to each committee so that they don’t get into a situation where there is no quorum and nothing that can be done by a deadline got to . That situation came earlier this year.
According to Dickey, the council regulations require that the proposal be made in writing and that they can then inquire with Brooke Zellers, City Law Director. Null planned to prepare it for today’s council meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. in the council chamber.
He also suggested changing council committees, saying some of the committees are not relevant and rarely meet. He suggested creating a committee to focus on the downtown area and maybe one to deal with tourism and one on community relations to better communicate with the public.
He also said the committees should be reviewed annually. He felt that everyone in the council had something to offer.
Regarding the committees, no decision was made with everyone being asked to review and hold another meeting of the committee of the whole on committees on November 29 at 6:00 p.m.
The Council currently has seven standing committees: Finance; Utilities; Parks & recreation; Economic development; Streets, alleys & sidewalks; Traffic safety; and rules and regulations. Each council member is assigned the chairmanship of a committee, with two additional members assigned to each committee. Each council member serves on three committees.
The Committee of the Whole, which includes all seven council members, is chaired by President Protem, Dickey.