Old Colorado City Alfresco kicks off Friday to support local businesses

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Grant makes way for extended outdoor dining, support of local businesses during COVID

Outdoor dining is expanding to Old Colorado City Friday as part of a new pilot program “OCC Alfresco”. 25th Street will close to vehicular traffic through the end of March 2021 to extend outdoor dining opportunities to adjacent restaurants and support surrounding retail businesses. 

The closure of 25th Street between Colorado and Pikes Peak avenues will expand outdoor dining for Vino Colorado Winery at the Sweet Elephant and Mother Muff’s Kitchen & Spirits. Contact participating businesses for days and hours of operation. Patrons must be seated by the host of the restaurant and walk-up reservations are accepted. 

The wintertime pilot program, led by the Old Colorado City Partnership, is an OCC-wide initiative to support all OCC businesses, highlight restaurants with outdoor dining options, and encourage the community to bundle up for small business. 

“Old Colorado City offers the perfect atmosphere for outdoor dining while supporting our small businesses,” said Jonathan Neely, president of the OCC Partnership. “In an effort to help the program be successful for both businesses and their patrons, we will evaluate the program to determine the impact for businesses and opportunities to expand the program to additional streets.”

Know before you go

  • Walk-up reservations OK. No public seating; patrons MUST check in and be seated by the restaurant host.  
  • In the event of inclement weather and changes to COVID-19 restrictions, restaurants may need to adjust service to accommodate patrons. For the most up to date hours of business operations, please call the business or visit business social media pages and websites.
  • There are curbside pick-up locations for businesses along Colorado Avenue.

Traffic Impacts

25th Street between Pikes Peak and Colorado avenues will be closed to through traffic. Southbound vehicle traffic on 25th Street will be diverted onto Pikes Peak Avenue. Northbound traffic will be diverted onto Colorado Avenue. Detour signs will be on-site to direct traffic. All parking lots and alleyways on 25th Street will remain accessible.

Partnerships, grant funding make “OCC Alfresco” a reality

To accommodate more patrons at local restaurants and support retail establishments, the OCC Partnership worked with the City of Colorado Springs to apply for a “Revitalizing Main Streets” grant through the Colorado Department of Transportation to provide a venue for outdoor dining during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The City and OCC Partnership were recently awarded a $26,448 grant that will go towards purchasing tables, bicycle racks, tents, outdoor heating and place making elements for expanded outdoor dining. In-kind grant-matching services include barricades from the Colorado Springs Public Works Operations and Maintenance Division to improve safety along the street and work by OCC Partnership volunteers to manage the administrative and logistical work to set up and oversee the on-street dining area.

The City of Colorado Springs has supported this effort through waiving of permit fees, providing expedited reviews, and collaborating with the OCC Partnership to secure the necessary resources to launch the pilot program. 

“COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our city’s small businesses, particularly our local restaurants and retailers,” said Chelsea Gaylord, Senior Economic Development Specialist for the City of Colorado Springs. “With indoor activities being limited to keep our community safe, City staff and partners have been working hard to support businesses with expanded outdoor dining options. We are thrilled to support efforts like OCC Alfresco and encourage those who can to bundle up, stay safe, and support our small businesses when they need you the most during these colder months.”

The Colorado Springs Planning & Community Development Department has processed permits for nearly 11,000 square feet of expanded sidewalk, alley and surface parking areas in Old Colorado City, and over an acre of additional outdoor seating citywide.

About the Old Colorado City Partnership

The OCCP is comprised of five local stakeholders: the Organization of Westside Neighbors, Old Colorado City Associates, Old Colorado City Foundation, the Old Colorado City Historical Society, and the Old Colorado City Special Improvement and Maintenance District. The Partnership’s goal is to facilitate a cooperative relationship among OCC partners and with the City of Colorado Springs to implement recommendations that will improve and promote the community and enhance visitor experiences in OCC. For more information visit occpartnership.org, or contact Jonathan Neely at info@occpartnership.com.

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