This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CHICAGO — The city has announced a new initiative to increase outdoor dining areas through long-term outdoor spaces.

The ‘Chicago Alfresco’ program has city officials encouraging chambers of commerce and other neighborhood groups to think beyond emergency traffic barricades and construction cones of last year’s outdoor dining expansion to propose and build outdoor community spaces.

“Outdoor dining has become a lifeline for so many of our neighborhoods, but not all of them have been able to take advantage of our safe, outdoor dining programs,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “And by creating and transforming public spaces, the Chicago Alfresco initiative will significantly increase our city’s ability to fully revitalize the public way. Last year, we started this program out of necessity to help bars and restaurants stay open safely, now we’ve seen how well this program works and how much the City loves it, so we want to keep it going.”

The Chicago Department of Transportation is now seeking Chicago Alfresco proposals.

Roger Romanelli, with the Chicago Restaurants Coalition and the Fulton Market Association, said outdoor dining is great but not enough to help save restaurants that are struggling to survive the pandemic.

“We definitely want to do all we can to help restaurant prioritize vaccine and the city’s got to issue more $10,000 dollar survival grants,” he said.

To apply, click here.