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Franklin Avenue closing to make way for outdoor dining area in downtown Kent

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Posted at 9:18 AM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 09:18:08-04

KENT, Ohio — Starting Friday, Franklin Avenue in downtown Kent will be closed form Main Street to Erie Street and filled with picnic tables.

Only emergency and delivery vehicles will have access to the street.

The closure is an effort to help area businesses rebound from the pandemic.

Main Street Kent did this temporarily on weekends in the fall to help businesses with limited seating capacity. They were able to purchase the picnic tables using money through the CARES ACT but had to pack them away for the winter.

Now that the weather is getting warmer again, they’re bringing the tables back to the street to offer a safe, outdoor dining option. You can grab carryout from any downtown restaurant and enjoy dinner and drinks outside.

This includes alcohol in the “Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area” or DORA, which covers most of the downtown area.

“It’s not just that section or Franklin Avenue. It's actually a pretty expansive area,” said executive director of Main Street Akron Heather Malarcik. “So as long as people buy a beverage inside a participating business, they get a wristband and a cup that is branded with Dora on it, then law enforcement and the community members know that the person's already been ID and that they can walk around with their beverage.”

To control crowds, the DORA alcohol areas will only last from noon until 10 p.m.

Organizers are paying high school students on clean up on the weekends but are asking people to do their part, be respectful of the space and clean up after themselves.

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