DENVER – Gov. Jared Polis, in partnership with the Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA), the Colorado Restaurant Foundation, and Xcel Energy, announced that applications are open for the Winter Outdoor Grant Program, which will provide funds to restaurants to winterize patio space for outdoor dining. In mid-October, Gov. Polis was joined by CRA and restaurateurs to discuss ways to support local restaurants during the pandemic.
“The restaurant industry is critical to the economic health of the State of Colorado, and it’s vital to the well-being of our local communities,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We need to continue to support our restaurants, even as we work to contain the virus and reduce transmission. This innovative program offers funding and inspiration to make outdoor dining plausible through the cold months. It will give restaurants means to keep their doors open, to keep their staff employed, and to continue to safely serve our communities. I hope the public join me in supporting restaurants this winter, perhaps by experiencing these unique winter outdoor dining concepts, or by dining out or ordering takeout or delivery.”
The Winter Outdoor Grant Program is made possible by a seed commitment from Xcel Energy Foundation and Xcel Energy, which made a $500,000 contribution to the Colorado Restaurant Association Foundation to help support local restaurants through the winter season. In addition to this donation, they are also committing to matching donations of $50,000, up to an additional $250,000, for every $500,000 that’s raised for the Colorado Restaurant Association Foundation. That’s a possible total contribution of $750,000 from the Xcel Energy Foundation and Xcel Energy. This is one of the single largest gifts the company has made in their history.
Grant funds can be used toward design, construction, applicable fees and supplies like tents, heaters, etc. Grants will be distributed through the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
The program developed feasible ideas for how all restaurants could effectively create and adapt to additional dining via the Outdoor Winter Design Workshop held on October 19. This event brought together the American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado (ACEC), the American Institute of Architects Colorado (AIA), the Associated General Contractors of Colorado (AGC), other design and construction professionals, public health officials, representatives from local fire departments, building officials, restaurateurs, and more. Teams were assigned a specific outdoor space type (e.g. rooftop, parking lot, adjacent park) and geography (e.g. urban, mountain resort). They were asked to consider safety, cost, permitting, regulations, ease of implementation, and the comfort of the guest as they create their concepts. The final conceptual plans are now available at COOutdoorDining.org.