Twp., village get grants to help area restaurants with outdoor dining

Twp., village get grants to help area restaurants with outdoor dining

By Jim Newell

Review Editor

Many restaurants, bars and cafes are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic and local governments are trying to find ways to support those businesses, attract diners and keep restaurants open.

The Village of Lake Orion and Orion Township have both received a grant – The City, Village and Township (CVT) Grant Program to Support Restaurants, Bars and Cafes During COVID-19 – from Oakland County.

Village Manager Joe Young said the village would be getting five 8-foot-by-12-foot greenhouses and five igloos, 33 propane patio heaters, nine sanitizing sprayers and sanitizing solution and 50 refills for the propane heaters. In all, the village received $30,000 in from the grant.

Young and village officials hope the expanded “outdoor dining” will be a draw for people to visit downtown Lake Orion, dine and shop at local businesses. He said that the village is even putting a notice on residents’ water bills notifying them of the expanded outdoor seating at village restaurants.

Currently, Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Molly LaLone is working with village restaurants on coordinating supplies, Young said.

Young and village officials hope the expanded “outdoor dining” will be a draw for people to visit downtown Lake Orion, dine and shop at local businesses. He said that the village is even putting a notice on residents’ water bills notifying them of the expanded outdoor seating at village restaurants.

He added that the village and DDA are working on placemaking ideas to bring people downtown and are still investigating sound systems to bring music to the streets of Lake Orion.

Township Supervisor Chris Barnett informed the board of trustees during its Jan. 6 meeting that the township would be getting 8-foot-by-12-foot greenhouses, propane patio heaters and sanitizing sprayers and sanitizing solution to help Orion Township restaurants.

The village and the Lake Orion DDA had applied for their own grant and will be assisting establishments in the village. Orion Township will assist restaurants, bars and cafes in the township but not in village borders.

Eligible establishments are those that have sit-down dining. Currently, indoor dining is prohibited until at least Jan. 15 under a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services order.

Barnett noted that he did not know exactly how many greenhouses the township would get, but since the township was approved in phase one of the grant, it is automatically approved for phase two and could receive more greenhouses and supplies from the county.

Barnett’s office team is compiling a list and reaching out restaurants.

“Some of the restaurants are not interested in them, they either just want to stay closed or be open for carry-out only. Some of the other restaurants are really excited at the opportunity to get this equipment,” Barnett said, adding that the fire and building departments would go over plans to place the greenhouses “just to make sure our residents are safe.”

It takes two people about six hours to put a greenhouse together, Young said.

Village establishments that have or will be getting a greenhouse or igloo include Anita’s Kitchen, Johnny Black’s LakeHouse, Bitter Tom’s, ABeanToGo and Wine Social, Young said.

“We’re trying to give them to restaurants that don’t have anything,” Young said. “Fork n’ Pint, Oat Soda and 313 Pizza all have their own igloos. But, hopefully, they’ll get something back through this grant program. At least the county indicated that they could, possibly.”

“Part of the goal is to get customers downtown and benefit all of our shops,” Young said.

 

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