The Downtown Orlando Community Redevelopment Area is launching a new program to help downtown businesses.

According to internal city paperwork, the Sidewalk Cafe Incentive Program (SCI Program) was designed to help encourage downtown business owners to enhance their outdoor sidewalk spaces to help promote a more “lively, vibrant, and consistent streetscape.” The program will offer financial assistance to qualified property owners or tenants to purchase partitions and barriers, outdoor furniture, trash receptacles, portable heaters, decorative planters, and fabrication costs for custom pieces, in the amount of $5,000 or 50% of eligible products – whichever is less.

Requirements include:

  • Property must be located in the Downtown CRA.
  • Grants will only be awarded to properties that contribute to the CRA through ad valorem taxes.
  • Proposed improvements must meet requirements of the Appearance Review Board and Historic Preservation Board, if applicable.
  • Applicants must have a valid sidewalk cafe permit from the City of Orlando.
  • Successful applicants must enter into a Funding/Grant Agreement with the CRA.

Funding is determined on a first-come, first-served basis and budget availability, and the CRA has earmarked $500,000 for the program.

Click HERE for more information on the program or to apply.

Earlier in the summer, the City of Orlando was mulling over the idea of possibly removing a number of downtown sidewalk cafes and restricting business owners from opening more, in an effort to fight an uptick in crime experienced during the pandemic but decided against the move in June.

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

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