Sidewalk Café Incentive Program

The Downtown Orlando Community Redevelopment Area Plan emphasizes the role of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) to pursue opportunities to enhance outdoor dining, furnishings, and pedestrian oriented streetscapes.  Additionally, the Plan calls on the CRA to encourage the retention and continued operation of existing businesses.  This program is designed to encourage downtown businesses to enhance their outdoor sidewalk café spaces to promote a lively, vibrant, and consistent streetscape.

The Sidewalk Café Incentive (S.C.I.) Program offers financial assistance to qualified property owners or tenants seeking to make outdoor sidewalk café improvements. Sidewalk cafés bring a vibrancy to our community and provide a welcoming place for people to meet, relax, and dine. Encouraging downtown properties to add or enhance their sidewalk cafés will be beneficial to citizens and attract more people to downtown Orlando.

View the Program Guidelines(PDF, 801KB)

Application Requirements

Applications for grants must meet the criteria outlined below:

  1. Properties must be located within the Downtown CRA (link to map).
  2. S.C.I. Program grants will only be awarded for properties that contribute to the CRA through the payment of ad valorem taxes.
  3. All proposed improvements must meet the requirements of the Appearance Review Board (ARB) or, if a landmark property or located within a historic preservation district, the Historic Preservation Board (HPB), if applicable, as well as all other City Code requirements. Approvals or Certificates issued by the ARB or HPB do not guarantee approval of a S.C.I. Program grant.
  4. Applicants must have a valid sidewalk café permit from the City of Orlando.

Successful applicants must enter into a Funding/Grant Agreement with the CRA.

Grant Structure

The CRA will oversee the S.C.I. Program. Businesses with valid sidewalk café permits from the City of Orlando located within the CRA will be eligible for funding to purchase and install sidewalk café improvements. The CRA will assist up to $5,000 or 50% of the total cost of eligible products, whichever is less.

Funding is based on budget availability and will be considered on a “first come, first served” basis. The filing of an application does not guarantee funding.  Additionally, no grants will be awarded retroactively, which means that funding will not be awarded for eligible products purchased before the application date.

Successful grantees will acquire and install the eligible sidewalk café improvements.  The contractor(s) used by the grantees must be licensed and insured. The CRA will not be responsible in any manner for the selection of a contractor. The property or business owner will bear full responsibility for reviewing the competence and abilities of prospective contractors and secure proof of their licensing and insurance coverage.

Applications will be reviewed for completeness and compliance with program requirements. Projects that do not comply with the program requirements and conditions will not be eligible for funding. An authorized corporate officer or partner(s) of the applicant’s business must sign the application, in addition to the property owner(s), if the applicant is a tenant.

In order to ensure that funds are available, eligible products must be purchased within one (1) year of the effective date of the funding agreement. Extensions may be granted by the Executive Director of the CRA given just cause by the applicant (e.g., contractor delays, acts of God, etc.). 

Use/Requirements of Funds

The following items are eligible for funding under this program. Applicants must also meet the application requirements. Applicants may not request funding to be used towards other sidewalk café items that are not listed below.

  1. Partitions/Barriers

    Partitions/Barriers must include the following requirements but are not limited to:
       a. Must be able to take down easily
       b. Must be durable
       c. Must be resistant to scratches and fading
       d. Must be metal material and weather-resistant
       e. Must be black
       f.  Must be of the consistent pattern (as shown on exhibit A(PDF, 109KB)) approved by the Executive Director of the CRA

  2. Sidewalk Café Furniture
    Sidewalk Café Furniture (tables, chairs, umbrellas, and umbrella stands) must include the following requirements but are not limited to:
       a. Must be moveable and designed for the outdoors
       b. Must be commercial grade, sturdy, weatherproof, and
           durable material
       c. Must be black 

  3. Trash Receptacles
    Trash Receptacles must include the following requirements but are not limited to:
       a. Must be moveable  
       b. Must be designed for the outdoors
       c. Must be commercial grade, sturdy, weatherproof, and
           durable material
       d. Must be black

  4. Portable Heaters

    Portable Heaters must include the following requirements but are not limited to:
       a. Must be moveable
       b. Must be designed for the outdoors
       c. Must be commercial grade, sturdy, weatherproof, and
           durable material
       d. Must be black

  5. Decorative Planters

    Planters must include the following requirements but are not limited to:
       a. Must be moveable
       b. Must be designed for the outdoors
       c. Must be commercial grade, sturdy, weatherproof, and
           durable material
       d. Must be black
       e. Must be located within the frontage zone as shown on
          exhibit B(JPG, 24KB)

  6. Fabrication Costs and Fees

    Fabrication Costs and Fees for the installation of Allowable Improvements are eligible under the program, including the following:
       a. Design Costs
       b. Labor Costs
       c. Material Costs
       d. Fabrication Costs
       e. Permitting Fees 

Receipt of funding under the S.C.I. Program will not affect eligibility for other City of Orlando/CRA programs, including the Downtown Commercial and Residential Building Improvement Program to make additional improvements not qualified under this program. 

Disbursements

Funds will be disbursed by checks payable to the grantee upon receipt of (1) certification of completion of the Allowed Improvements, (2) upon verification by the S.C.I. Program Coordinator that the work was completed as proposed, and (3) provision of receipts for payment for such Allowable Improvements and lien releases from any contractors. Funds will not be disbursed on projects that are not in accordance with the approved plans.  All grant funds will be issued to the grantee on a reimbursement basis only.

Funding

The Executive Director of the CRA has the authority to approve and sign funding agreements on behalf of the CRA for assistance totaling $5,000 or less. The Executive Director, at his or her discretion, may present any and all funding agreements to the CRA for approval. Funding is subject to funding availability in any given fiscal year.  The CRA may, from time to time at its discretion, establish annual funding for the program.

Disclosure

The CRA reserves the right to reject any and all applications or to request additional information from any and all applicants and grantees. The CRA retains the right to deviate from the program guidelines, or amend the program guidelines, agreements, and application procedures. The CRA also retains the right to display and advertise properties that receive matching funds under this grant.

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