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Mayor Sarno and CDO Sheehan Announce new Outdoor Dining Program

|   City News

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan joined with Deputy Director of Economic Development Brian Connors, City Councilor Maria Perez, and local chef and restauranter Nadim Kashouh today to announce a new grant program for establishments to create new spaces or rehabilitate existing spaces for outdoor dining across the City. The program is directly funded by the city with $2.5 million of ARPA funds. 

The program will be administered by the Office of Planning & Economic Development and offers grants of between $25,000 and $250,000 for the creation of new spaces or substantial rehabilitation of existing spaces for outdoor dining. It is aimed at assisting local restaurants and non-profit organizations with improving the ability of their patrons to dine and gather outdoors where there is better air circulation, which reduces the potential spread of viruses.

Mayor Sarno states, “Outdoor dining has been a huge and successful program and my administration is proud to continue with this very successful and popular initiative which brings a sense of vibrancy for our dining establishments so that they can create more open spaces to enjoy the seasonable weather.  To continue to building upon this positive economic engine for our city, CDO Tim Sheehan and our dedicated team at Eco Dev will establish and administer this new grant program to assist local restaurants and nonprofit organizations with improving the ability of their patrons to dine and gather outdoors.  This initiative, along with my administrations ‘Prime the Pump’ and ARPA grants, which has pumped in millions of dollars to not only help these establishments survive and stabilize during this COVID-19 pandemic but now to thrive.  Coupled with the many DPW infrastructure enhancements made to accommodate these establishments to increase outdoor spaces, walkability and foot traffic, all helped many of our local restaurants during the pandemic we continue to be business friendly.”

The intent of the program is to create new or significantly refurbished outdoor dining and event spaces that also help to increase the walkability and foot traffic in neighborhood centers. These projects can include landscape, hardscape, outdoor furniture, and accessibility improvements needed for an outdoor area.

“This program responds directly to the public health concerns and mitigation strategies developed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said CDO Sheehan. “We believe creating more outdoor spaces will increase local business, offer new options for patrons, and improve neighborhood vitality.”

Applications are being accepted entirely online at and must be submitted no later than May 5, 2023 at 2:00 PM. Each completed application will be scored in the order received, based on criteria in the Application Guidelines posted on the referenced website.

“Small businesses are the economic backbone of our neighborhoods.  My administration remains committed to their full economic recovery and we are happy to add yet another program to assist in that effort, said Mayor Sarno. “With this announcement my administration has allocated over $25 million in funding for small business and neighborhood economic recovery programming.”

Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm