Legislation expanding Defiance’s outdoor refreshment area — a controversial proposal for some — moved closer to a final vote Tuesday night.
A related ordinance — one of five legislative items considered by Defiance City Council during its regular meeting Tuesday — was let lie after a second reading and is headed for a third and final reading next week.
Meanwhile, an ordinance allowing a contract for the construction of a traffic roundabout at Ottawa and Cleveland avenues as well as legislation concerning a downtown building demolition project breezed through along with two other legislative items (see related story this page).
And council learned of a burgeoning partnership with Defiance College on water quality issues along with difficulties in finding lifeguards for Kingsbury Pool (see related stories Page A2).
Two weeks ago, council let lie the aforementioned ordinance that would expand the 96-acre Defiance Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) by approximately 18 acres. And like two Tuesdays ago, an attempt to prevent the expansion from extending into Kingsbury and Pontiac parks by amending the pending ordinance narrowly failed, 4-3.
The amendment proposed by At-large Councilman Joe Eureste moved to keep the DORA — which allows alcoholic beverages to be consumed in special 16-ounce cups within the designated outdoor area downtown — inside the Maumee and Auglaize rivers. Eureste said “alcohol, parks and children shouldn’t mix” while his amendment specified that the relatively new D-Town Food Market & Oasis on South Clinton Street would be included in the DORA.
Ward 1 Councilman Steve Corbitt and At-large Councilman Steve Waxler supported Eureste’s action, but council’s other four voting members (Chris Engel, John Hancock, Jill Krutsch and Josh Mast) were opposed.
Krutsch expressed sympathy with Eureste’s assertion that “children and alcohol don’t mix,” saying “that’s why I think Kingsbury (because it has a playground) should not be included.” But she didn’t want Pontiac Park excluded from the DORA as it is more of a “sitting, relaxing tranquil type of park.”
Before the amendment was decided, Krutsch read letters and texts from a number of persons who supported the DORA’s expansion. They included Angie and Ryan Sukup, 308 W. Third St.; Richard and Angie Mojica, 2191 Royal Oak Ave.; Mary Boyd, 1906 Edgewood Drive; Mandy Kissner, 2009 S. Mistywood Court; Laura Kline, 301 Maywinn Drive; Katie Groff, 301 W. Third St.; Rob Lawson, 420 W. First St.; and Ben Mitchell, a downtown business owner at 319 and 321 Clinton St.
Krutsch also told council she received two voicemails and four phone calls in opposition to the DORA expansion, but said they were “citizens who wouldn’t give me their names.”
Council President Dave McMaster read a correspondence in opposition provided by Ryan Crandall of Defiance Physical Therapy, whose business would fall within the expanded DORA’s boundaries. He expressed a liability concern if an alcohol-related incident occurred.
And Corbitt said he had received a lot of comments from older persons opposed to the DORA expansion into the parks.
Krutsch reminded those in opposition that if things didn’t work out in the parks to the city’s satisfaction, the DORA boundaries could later be redrawn. She was supported by Mayor Mike McCann who pledged that “I’ll be the first one to ask Mr. (Law Director Sean) O’Donnell to draft legislation shrinking the DORA back down, because we won’t tolerate that, we just won’t.”
Amidst these discussions council voted on a motion to suspend procedural rules and move the legislation to a final vote Tuesday. However, this measure, which was supported by Eureste, Corbitt and Waxler, failed because six votes were needed.
Therefore, council approved a motion, 6-1, to let lie the ordinance for another week. Only Eureste was opposed to this motion.