Downtown Toledo set for outdoor drinking area

Downtown Toledo will be home to the city's second outdoor refreshment area (Jim Nelson/WNWO).

Downtown Toledo will soon be home to the city's second outdoor refreshment area (ORA), allowing patrons to take their drinks outside of area bars and restaurants.

"This is even more than someone being able to walk outside with a beer," said Blarney owner Ed Beczynski. "It's about marketing and marketing our area."

The drinking area will be defined by distinct borders where signange is clearly posted. In this care, the area inside the boundary of Adams Street to Lafayette Street between Erie and Summit will be part of the ORA.

People will not be able to bring their own alcoholic beverages into the area.

The beer and liquor must be purchased at a participating bar or restaurant, which will provide customers with a specific cup.

"I think it's awesome, I'm definitely going to partake," said Sarah Nytkiewicz. "I think it's going to give Toledo a great buzz."

"I think it'll be great for the bars in the area as well as being able to watch the game from outside," said Kara Mominee. "So I think it's a great idea."

It's a system that, by most accounts, has been working in Uptown Toledo since last year on Adams Street.

As the finishing touches are applied downtown, Beczynski believes this will only create more opportunies and momentum for the area.

"It's just the beginning," he said. "What I've seen over the years is unbelievable. This is just another piece of the puzzle."

"Downtown has just evolved and it's awesome. It's great and I can't wait (for) the future," added Nytkiewicz.

Two areas of concern have long been safety and sanitation.

As part of the plan, an independent agency has been contracted to handle security and cleaning duties.

On Tuesday, Toledo City Council voted to expand the area's hours to 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

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