The Dunwoody City Council approved a revamped version of a COVID-related grant program at its Monday meeting. 

The council initially approved the Al Fresco Grant Program back on Nov. 9, 2020 as part of an economic assistance package using funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The grant was intended to assist restaurants and other businesses expand their outdoor operations during the COVID-19 pandemic by purchasing heaters and other equipment. 

At its Feb. 14 meeting, the council approved an additional part of the Al Fresco Grant that relates to larger property owners applying for money for multiple businesses at once. The council first discussed this additional aspect of the grant at a Jan. 24 meeting in relation to a proposed renovation at the Shops of Dunwoody, a shopping center located on Chamblee Dunwoody Road. 

Economic Development Director Michael Starling said since the grant program started, the city has only used $24,000 of the $150,000 set aside for the grant. The grant program initially allowed the city to match whatever investment a small business put in for up to $5,000. This part of the program would still exist, but now the grant also has program metrics for property owners looking to make improvements to multiple businesses at once. 

According to a city memo, the minimum requirement for a property owner in this situation would be to offer $3 to the city’s $1 for the investment. The maximum investment for the city could be $5,000 per individual business within a commercial area or $1.50 per square foot of the total commercial space. Only commercial areas in Dunwoody Village, Georgetown, Jett Ferry, and Winters Chapel would be eligible. 

Starling also said a memorandum of understanding would have to be negotiated for the larger property owners to nail down the specifics of what they are asking for, which would then be brought before the council for approval. 

The memo in its entirety can be read on the city’s website. The full City Council meeting can be viewed on the city’s Facebook page. 

Sammie Purcell is Associate Editor at Rough Draft Atlanta.