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Chicago Alfresco

Chicago Alfresco


The City of Chicago has issued a call for projects from neighborhood organizations interested in creating active community spaces that promote outdoor dining or highlight community-focused placemaking and support community identity. Placemaking is the iterative process of transforming common spaces into community places by cultivating a sense of ownership, belonging, and safety through community engagement, physical transformation, and the nurturing of community capacity and local leadership. Chicago Alfresco is an integral part of Choose Chicago’s push for more neighborhood tourism and one pillar of the City’s broader initiative to open streets and create places for dining, public life, community, arts, culture, walking and biking.

Please click here to be taken to the City of Chicago Department of Transportation website with application information.

Grant funding for creating neighborhood spaces

Thanks to generous support from Diageo, a limited number of grants will be awarded to local community organizations such as Chambers of Commerce, Special Service Area Providers, and other not-for-profit organizations for projects dedicated to outdoor public space on the South and West Sides. Eligible projects will demonstrate how placemaking can be a tool to activate public spaces and incorporate community activity. Proposed project duration must be a minimum of six months and preference will be given to those that commit to activating the public way for up to three years.


Grant Award Amounts

Projects of a variety of scales are encouraged. Grant award amounts are up to $250,000 per applicant. A match from the grantee is not required.

  • Eligible expenses for the public way include:
  • Design, engineering, and construction services
  • Materials (such as barriers, paint, landscape elements, modular design systems, etc.)
  • Fabrication and installation of community spaces
  • Project management staff (to be considered based on need and on a case-by-case basis)

No grant funds may be used to purchase items for use by an individual restaurant or bar (e.g. furniture such as dining tables and chairs, fixtures or structures such as lighting for a restaurant’s sidewalk cafe, restaurant/bar operations, etc.).


If you would like your organization’s plans to enhance the public way to be considered for grant funding, please send an email to and include the following information:

  • Name of organization and tax status
  • Proposed scope of public way enhancement
  • Proposed budget and implementation timeline

If you have any questions about the grant opportunity, please e-mail

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