The Tulsa Downtown Coordinating Council is using federal money to help businesses survive the pandemic by expanding their outdoor options.
The coffee is hot and there's plenty of food at Antoinette’s Bakery. However, owner Molly Martin said there’s just not as many customers.
"It’s a constant struggle to make sure I keep my employees safe and everyone is wearing masks,” Martin said. “It’s necessary, but we don’t know what to do in the fall.”
Martin said she just applied for the Get Your Business Outside grant program. The program is an opportunity to transform everything from sidewalks and parking spaces to outdoor dining in hopes to drive more foot traffic.
"Having a parklet would immediately solve that because people wouldn't wait outside,” Martin said. “It will be nicer than waiting in the line on the sidewalk.”
Tulsa Downtown Coordinating Council President Brian Kurtz said they received more than $500,000 through Tulsa CARES and decided downtown shops needed help the most.
"We have seen our daytime population really, really significantly decrease and we know businesses are hurting,” Kurtz said. “They need financial assistance to help overcome the obstacles that they are were experiencing as a result of COVID(-19).”
Kurtz added the program is designed for select businesses to buy tables, chairs, heaters or whatever they needed to create an outdoor space. The TDCC will be fully reimbursed in no later than 15 business days.
Kurtz said the TDCC estimates at least 12 businesses will receive a $10,000 grant. More businesses could receive grants if the approved projects cost lower than expected.
Martin said she will be working with an architect next week to start drawing up designs.
"I think it will be -- pandemic aside -- a real game changer for the neighborhood,” Martin said.
Downtown businesses can apply online through December or until funds run out.
You find the link by clicking here.