FORT GREENE — Although it's only a little more than a month old, the recently added sidewalk café at Lulu & Po already has some big fans.
On Wednesday the restaurant received $1,000 in backing from the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Business Improvement District, the first in this year’s round of grant-funding for local business improvement projects.
Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership is an umbrella organization in which the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project Local Development Corporation and the BID work together on economic revitalization efforts in the area.
On Aug. 7, the partnership presented Lulu & Po’s owner and chef Matthew Hamilton with a grant to help offset the cost of its new outdoor seating, which the restaurant added over Fourth of July weekend.
Sidewalk cafés like Lulu & Po’s, located at 154 Carlton Ave., can be expensive undertakings, as they require permits from the city, as well as plans filed by a licensed architect, partnership officials explained.
But the investment can help not only the eateries themselves, but they're also their neighbors, which is why, this year, the grant program is placing extra emphasis on helping businesses install similar outdoor dining spaces along Myrtle Avenue.
“Sidewalk cafés further activate the sidewalk and bring activity out from restaurants into the street,” MARP program manager Chad Purkey said. “It brings more life into the district, which is generally a good thing.”
Since 2005, the BID’s Storefront Improvement Grant Program has provided local business grants for projects, matching funds dollar-for-dollar with business owners up to $1,000. Its annual $10,000 pool is available on a first-come, first-serve basis for owners once their plans have been pre-approved.
According to partnership officials, it took six months for Lulu & Po to receive funding.
The BID will also prioritize projects that install street-facing security cameras along Myrtle Avenue. It still has $9,000 available for similar reimbursement grants for fiscal year 2013-2014.