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Denver Assists Four Restaurants in Creating Outdoor Dining Spaces Amid COVID-19

DENVER –  Denver’s Department of Transportation & Infrastructure (DOTI) is assisting four restaurants in standing up new outdoor dining areas to expand their capacity to serve customers amid COVID-19 social distancing rules. DOTI spearheaded the effort utilizing a $25k grant from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) that was earmarked for communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and historically underinvested. 

To distribute the funding, DOTI partnered with local community organizations to identify four restaurants eager to create outdoor dining areas and receive financial and technical support with the process. With the funds, DOTI helped Kahlos and La Chilanga in the Westwood neighborhood and Tacos Acapulco and East Fax in the East Colfax neighborhood create site plans, purchase materials such as roofing, patio tables, chairs, lighting, and heaters, and construct their new outdoor dining spaces. The Neighborhood Equity & Stabilization (NEST) division of Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) includes both East Colfax and Westwood in their list of targeted neighborhoods deemed most vulnerable to underinvestment and the effects of displacement.

“A little funding certainly goes a long way for these local restaurants, especially in communities that need relief the most,” said Eulois Cleckley, DOTI Executive Director and NACTO Vice President. “With Denver’s COVID-19 restrictions recently tightening to help curb its transmission, this funding couldn’t come at a more perfect time. We’re excited to help these neighborhood businesses continue to serve their customers and set them up for success when dine-in becomes permissible again.”

Community partners that are assisting restaurants with planning and patio installations include: BuCu West, The Fax Partnership, Federal Boulevard Business Improvement District and Denver Streets Partnership.

More About Denver’s Temporary Outdoor Expansion Program

Denver created a temporary program in May 2020 to allow restaurants and bars to operate in outdoor settings adjacent to their businesses allowing for greater physical distancing and safety for patrons. Proposals could include expansion into designated outdoor areas such as adjacent parking lots, streets, and sidewalks. The program has approved 348 businesses since its inception and was recently extended to run through October 2021. So far, 242 businesses have applied and been approved for winter extensions. The program was developed in collaboration with the Mayor’s Economic Relief and Recovery Council, an advisory group established to support the relief and recovery efforts of Denver’s economy.

More About NACTO

NACTO is an association of 86 major North American cities and transit agencies formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights, and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. NACTO’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible, and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life. For more information, please visit nacto.org.