Curbside beautification to bring permanent outdoor spaces to Austin neighborhood

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Austin Chicago Children's Choir is helping celebrate this West Side neighborhood's new city funding for curbside beautification Saturday.

The Austin Chamber of Commerce is one of 15 organizations receiving Chicago Al Fresco grant money to build more permanent outdoor spaces for businesses and the community.

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"On the West Side of Chicago there, there are no outdoor seating," said Tina Augustus, executive director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce. "The majority of the restaurants in Austin, are fast food restaurants you just come in, order your food, pick it up and go."

That outdoor dining has been a potential lifeline for businesses throughout the pandemic.

Augustus said the city gave her organization $127,000, which will help increase the West Side's outdoor dining appeal.

"We're also going to place restaurant partitions out there to have seating and shade for those who want to come and just sit and chill," she added.

Among the projects along Madison Street and Chicago Avenue, Augustus plans to add massive planters.

"We're going to fill them with beautiful flowers -- perennials, annuals, and they're going to be painted," she said.

Augustus also envisioning more arts on display to entice people to stop and take notice before eventually grabbing a bite to eat, too.

The plan is welcomed news to mainstay MacArthur's Restaurant.

"We just looking forward to dressing up the community and making it a more friendlier, comfortable environment," said Sharon McKennie, manager at MacArthur's Restaurant.
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