RENAISSANCE DOWNTOWN CHALLENGE FAQ
1. I can't afford thousands of dollars.
The $2000 matching grant is SCALEABLE, meaning that you are matched $1 dollar for every $1 you spend, UP TO $2000 from the ORA. It essentially says, "for every pre-tax dollar you spend, you will get 50% back UP TO $2000 maximum from the ORA." If you can only do a $500 project, a successful application means you would be reimbursed $250 upon completion of the project ($250 from ORA matched to $250 from you = $500 total).
2. I don't want to use any parking spaces for seating
You do not have to. Although this is the way many restaurants and small businesses are expanding their seating throughout cities in the US, it is completely up to you how you want to design your space. The pictures provided on our website do predominantly show "Parklets" (seating areas in former parking spaces), but they can be used as inspiration for sidewalk-only seating as well. That said, applications that expand their seating area into parking spaces (with City Approval) are encouraged.
3. There is no way I can make spaces as ambitious as the ones shown in your example pictures.
The pictures show idealized examples of what the ORA would encourage and fund. Not all, or even most, applications will be able to achieve the level of environments shown in the exemplar pictures. They are there for a goal to strive towards. That said, applications that are more ambitious will be become more competitive.
4. Do I need to get permission from the City?
Yes, but we do not require it in advance of submission of this grant. Any use of public space ultimately requires permission from the City of Oswego. You will need to obtain permission prior to installation if it changes the footprint or other important dimensions of your outdoor seating.
5. Do I get the money upfront?
No. You are reimbursed based upon documented receipts/paid invoices and upon completion of the project.
6. Why are there Target Zones?
Target Zones in the Traditional Downtown Zoning area were chosen in 2021 because limited resources require that geographic focus for the greatest impact. The Traditional Downtown Zoning Area (TD1) contains the areas of the highest concentration of walking-oriented, rather than car-oriented businesses. These areas do not benefit from high volumes of parking as seen on the periphery of town and depend upon foot traffic and a stronger outdoor walking environment/experience to thrive.
7. My business is in the Target Zone, are we guaranteed funding?
No application is guaranteed funding. However, priority for funding will be given to strong applications that are located within target zones. Funding is competitive, and depend upon the number of applications and funding available.
8. My business is NOT in a Target Zone, are we not be eligible for funding?
Priority for funding will be located in the target zones. However, very strong applications from committed businesses that are just outside the target zones (about 1 or 2 blocks away) will be considered.
9. My business is not in a Target Zone, will we ever be eligible for funding?
Target Zones are starting points for revitalization efforts. They are meant to expand into new areas after a number of years. Expansion of Target Zones in future years is dependent upon the success of the initial programs in the Target Zones, and continued funding from philanthropic and corporate sponsors.