Marysville resident Kyle Stuebs browses an Uptown business with a beer at this weekend’s Friday Nights Uptown event. Friday’s event was the first to feature a designated area where residents could freely walk with an alcoholic beverage.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Will Channell)
Officials say the inaugural Marysville Outdoor Refreshment Area (MORA) went off without a hitch.
“Everybody seemed really positive,” said Marysville Events and Recreation Coordinator Amanda Morris.
This weekend’s Friday Nights Uptown event allowed the city to experiment with having an area where residents were allowed to freely roam with alcohol.
The district’s general area covers Fifth Street, from Court to Oak streets, Main Street, from Seventh to Fourth streets and Partners Park. Within that district, residents can buy a drink from an event or restaurant and carry it throughout the Uptown. Residents can take that drink into participating businesses, but not into other liquor-selling establishments.
The MORA isn’t permanent, and only active during specific events set by the city.
“We didn’t have any major issues with sanitation and safety,” Morris said.
According to Morris, the only significant problems the city had were related to guidelines. She said the signage explaining what was and was not allowed, “was a little confusing.” She mentioned instances where residents didn’t know where they were allowed to go.
Besides that, she said the MORA was a success. She said giving people the option to always have their drink made the event better.
“That extra ability to do that just provided an experience that people didn’t have before,” Morris said.
Kyle and Jenna Stuebs, of Marysville, were exploring a local antique shop on East Fifth Street and took advantage of that new experience.
“Honestly, we probably wouldn’t be in here if it wasn’t for this, truthfully,” Kyle Stuebs. “I wasn’t even sure this business existed, and now we’re probably about to buy all kinds of stuff.”
Emily and Doug Olsen, of Marysville, appreciated how the MORA seemed to be encouraging some Uptown exploration.
“There seems like there’s a lot of foot traffic around all the businesses,” Doug said.
Doug said he’s noticed people getting away from the pavilion at Partners Park. Emily agreed.
“I think it kind of gets congested over there,” she said.
Doug said the focus has shifted from only the pavilion to the entire Uptown. He said he hopes that shift gets more people to explore local businesses.
Friday was the first Uptown event for Sara and Travis Cressonie, of Marysville.
“I think if people are responsible then it’s a fun, good time,” Sara said.
Patty Reisz, of Plain City, said she and her husband have attended Uptown events before. She said she enjoys being able to bring her drink around the Uptown area.
“I kind of like the idea of being able to go into the shops that are open too so you can kind of see what’s going on in them,” she said. “How many people would be walking around up here on a non-party night?”
Residents largely said they felt safe as they carried their drink around town.
Travis and Sara said they hadn’t come across anyone acting belligerent. Travis added that in any case, the police presence was good.
“I think they do a good job of it, sectioning off the area,” he said. “I think it’s okay.”
Reisz mirrored that sentiment.
“They’re out here, doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Reisz said.
Emily said with the well-lit streets, crowd and police presence, she felt secure and “very comfortable.”
Residents said they’d like to see the city keep the MORA, and Morris agreed.
She said she met with business owners Friday night to get their thoughts. She said she got positive feedback.
“We’re pretty happy,” she said. “Hopefully we can continue to see this happen.”
Reisz said she’d like the city to change one thing.
“I’m sad they don’t have Miller Light,” Reisz joked.
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