The will launch an important new era in Wyoming’s event and entertainment scene at the end of this month, as the Wyoming Recreation Foundation kicks off the Village Green project, a plan to re-design the Village Green to include a new performance pavilion to accommodate changing trends in events. Also this month, the city will consider the implementation of a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area () that will give residents new options for dining and entertainment.

On Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. at the , the city will hold Village Green 2020 Kick-Off Night. This will initiate the Village Green Capital Campaign project, an endeavor to privately fund the re-design and construction of the planned performance pavilion.

After holding a competition to find design concepts for the project in 2019, Wyoming selected Senior Landscape Architect Ryan Geismar, whose firm, Human Nature, has worked on such projects as Cincinnati’s Washington Park, Ziegler Park and other similar venues. Geismar will speak at the kick-off event to explain his design and how the project might unfold.

The capital campaign will seek private donations through the Wyoming Recreation Foundation, a non-profit fundraising arm of the City of Wyoming, to fund the pavilion project, avoiding undue expense to taxpayers. As part of the fundraising, naming rights for the new development are available.

DORA Important as Part of New Plan

The launch of the Village Green Project dovetails with the city’s efforts to enact a DORA. The DORA would allow concert and event guests the chance to enjoy food and beverages from nearby restaurants at Village Green events, and give the city the flexibility to host adult events without seeking repeated liquor permits, which are cumbersome. This also allows restaurants to participate in event revenue.

Your Questions Answered

With the many proposed changes to the Village Green and the city’s future events, it is natural to have lots of questions. To help address residents’ questions, WhatsUpWyoming sought these answers to give readers a better understanding of how these projects will unfold.

1. Why does the city need a new performance pavilion?

The Village Green has evolved over the past decade to become a major gathering spot for music and cultural events. It is also the site of a thriving restaurant, , which has a substantial patio at the edge of the green. The current is not sufficient in size or location to accommodate today’s needs for events on the Village Green. A pavilion would provide adequate space and bring important technology upgrades. In addition, it would utilize the Village Green’s environment in a more effective way.

In addition, the performance pavilion is a significant step in achieving Wyoming’s core community initiatives from the 2018 . These include: Diversity and Inclusion, creating a community where all feel welcomed; The Arts, infusing arts into the city; Sustainability Education, working toward becoming a sustainable community; Health and Wellness, growing health and wellness in the city center; Small Business Development, providing small businesses a platform to market themselves through events; and Regional Development, building relationships with adjoining communities.

2. What will happen to the current gazebo?

The gazebo will move to , where the much-loved historic icon will continue to provide a back-drop for weddings and other events.

3. What is the Wyoming Recreation Foundation and why is it organizing fundraising for this project?

The Wyoming Recreation Foundation was created in 2013 to raise money for recreation and entertainment projects within Wyoming. It is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to enhance recreation and quality of life in the city.  In the past, the foundation has helped fund projects that include the Sharrows Project and the Wyoming Civic Center , among many others.  It enables the city to raise private funds to help finance important improvements in recreation programming that tax dollars alone could not support.

The project is expected to cost roughly $300,000. Of that, the city has committed to $50,000. The rest will be raised through the capital campaign. There will be multiple levels for sponsorship, ranging from $100,000 for presenting sponsorships to $500 for a community sponsor. Each level will include a permanent recognition at the site. More information is available here.

4. Does this new pavilion mean Wyoming will be the site of major local concert events?

Music and cultural events on the Village Green will continue to be programmed to respect the city’s traditions and status as a residential community that seeks to preserve the peace and tranquility of its neighborhoods. Events will be timed and themed to appeal to families and to be mindful of excessive noise.  Essentially, the Village Green is not going to turn into Riverbend.

5. Why does the city need a DORA?

As Wyoming has become a destination for dining and entertainment, its need for flexibility in connecting its various venues has increased. A DORA would give the city an important ability to both allow and control the public consumption of alcohol, while giving patrons the chance to visit multiple restaurants and destinations by connecting their experience through the transport of beverages. It is becoming a more commonplace activity among adult community entertainment districts, and therefore an expected perk.

6. Won’t the public consumption of alcohol encourage crime and litter?

The DORA would only be in effect during limited hours (TBD by council). Police would enforce this rule. Local law enforcement would be visible inside the DORA and vigilant of activity. Only alcoholic beverages purchased inside a restaurant and carried in specific re-usable cups would be allowed in the DORA.

Other local municipalities that have enacted DORA’s have reported no unique crime or trash problems due to the DORA.  The City of Mason implemented a DORA in December 2018, and Jenna Hurley, an administrator with Mason and a point person for the project, said the city has not experienced any detrimental effects.

“We got no negative feedback on it,” she said. “I checked with our police department after the busy months of June and July when we expected there would be the highest number of users, and they said they did not see any issues. We did not receive any complaints from residents or businesses, either. It could be that it’s still new, but so far, it has only gotten positive reactions.”

7. When will a DORA go into effect?

The city has held one public hearing about DORA at the end of 2019.  At that time, residents expressed concerns about the timing of the DORA and its potential to overlap school hours. In recognition of these concerns, the hours were modified to limit them to after school hours only.

The next opportunity to attend a hearing about DORA will be Jan. 21 at 7:30 pm in council chambers at 800 Oak Ave. when the will respond to residents’ questions and concerns about the new ordinance. Then, a vote would be taken on the measure on January 27.  If approved by council, the new DORA would still require an OK from the state of Ohio.

For more information about the DORA, click here .