Pima County Partnership Helps Create Downtown Outdoor Cafes

A plethora of restaurants will soon be offering alfresco dining thanks to a new grant program made possible through a partnership between Pima County and the Downtown Tucson Partnership. The new Outdoor Café Grant Program provides up to $5,000 to expand or enhance outdoor cafés. This program is designed to off-set costs associated with higher quality barriers, furnishings and amenities for outdoor seating areas.

In total, the DTP has received nineteen outdoor café applications totaling just over $99,000. “This comes at a time when small local restaurants are struggling to stay open,” stated Chuck Huckelberry, Pima County Administrator. “The social distancing requirements coupled with the need to rebuild consumer confidence make this program the solution restaurants so desperately need to survive.”

Penca, at 50 E Broadway, was approved for $5,000 through the Outdoor Café Grant Program and recently constructed a new café complete with tables, chairs, planters and pedestrian ramps built in the parking spaces fronting their establishment.

Urban Fresh, Raptor Canyon Café and Café 54 have joined forces to create the Pennington Street Outdoor Food Court located at the northwest corner of Pennington Street and Scott Avenue. These three neighboring businesses were awarded $15,000 in funding and have combined their grant dollars for new tables, chairs, planters and signage.

Senae Thai Bistro, at 63 E Congress, was awarded a grant to cover the costs of new outdoor furnishings and planters. Ten55 Brewing Company and Batch Café & Bar, also located on Congress, were collectively awarded $10,000 to invest in the construction of a platform café. More cafés are scheduled to open in the upcoming days and weeks.

“We’ve been given an opportunity to re-envision and reshape our downtown,” said Kathleen Eriksen, President and CEO of the DTP. “The new cafés will have a transformative impact on the appearance and walkability of downtown. It’s been rewarding for our team and Pima County to work with the restaurants from the time of application, concept and design phase, to assisting with permit approvals and final realization of their outdoor cafés.”

In addition to innovative grant programs, Pima County and DTP provide guidance to businesses for a safe reopening. Pima County’s partnership agreement with DTP provides a model that is being replicated in other areas of the County and City.

For more information about the Ready for You program, visit pimaready.com.

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