(This piece originally was included in the June 15, 2021 edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement)
The Charlottesville Economic Development office has been working on a recovery plan for the city, and the Charlottesville Economic Development Authority got a look at their meeting on June 8. Director Chris Engel said his department will seek American Rescue Plan funding from City Council to pay for projects within the initiative.
“Essentially we met and did a series of outreach efforts including a series of phone calls that was led by Jason Ness on our team with previous recipients of our grants from last year to find out how they’re doing,” Engel said. “We found four basic buckets in which there was desire for additional assistance.
Items in the roadmap include direct financial assistance through continued grant programs and additional training programs including a “specific hospitality focused training program.” Other ideas include updating maps for business corridors and creating a marketing leverage program. There are also ideas to create new infrastructure.
“One of them is a unique opportunity that is now available to municipalities to seek out what are called designated outdoor refreshment areas,” Engel said. “These are areas where alcoholic beverages can be served in an outdoor environment without putting up the traditional hard barriers that people might be accustomed to for these types of things.”
That would allow people to walk on parts of the Downtown Mall while carrying their drinks with them.
“Some details to be worked out with that,” Engel said. “There’s a particular kind of cup that would have to be used and some things like that. Not quite Bourbon Street but a more toned-down version.”
City Council will be presented with the plan on June 21.