City News / Uncategorized

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Austin Chamber Selected by Mayor Lightfoot to Receive Chicago Alfresco Grant

(Chicago, Illinois) On Saturday, June 5, 2021, the Austin Chamber of Commerce will help sponsor two kickoff events in celebration of the Chicago Alfresco fund awarded to the Chamber.  This fund was also awarded to 14 other organizations throughout the city of Chicago.  These events represent collaborations with Austin’s Chicago Children’s Choir who will start the morning off with a warmup session at the Austin Green Team’s Rosie’s Peace In The Valley Garden, located at 168 N. Laramie, one of six community gardens managed by a group of dedicated volunteers.  Then the youth will give a full performance at 11:00 am at MacArthur’s Restaurant, located at 5412 W. Madison St.  The second collaborative celebration is with Gone Again Travel & Tour’s fully booked “Chi-Town Soul Trolley Restaurant History Tour,” which will depart 5940 W. Chicago Ave. at 12 noon.  Each month the Austin Chamber and Gone Again will host a trolley tour,” said Crystal Dyer, Founder of Gone Again Travel & Tours.

“The Austin Chamber of Commerce is honored to be a recipient of the Chicago Alfresco fund which will aid the Chamber with economic development in the community,” said Tina Augustus, Executive Director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce. “A spotlight will now be on the rich arts and cultural community that exist in this neighborhood while enhancing the curb appeal of restaurants and creating an enjoyable and relaxing atmosphere outside of those restaurants.”

“Chicago Children’s Choir is honored to be a part of the Austin community, connecting families through music and culture and instilling in young people a sense of pride and accomplishment. The singers of the Austin Neighborhood Choir are excited to share their first public performance in over a year in celebration of the Chicago Alfresco grant,” said Mark Myer, Associate Artistic Director of the Chicago Children’s Choir.

MacArthur’s Restaurant supports this arts and cultural endeavor.  Their restaurant draws customers from all over the city of Chicago and including the suburban areas.  The space in front of the restaurant will serve as a place where arts and cultural events, such as Spoken Word, Dance Interpretations, Jazz and Blues concerts by local artists.  “The owner & staff of MacArthur’s Restaurant are honored that the Austin Chamber chose our establishment to be part of the Chicago Alfresco initiative.  We are excited that this effort will improve the curb appeal in our community business corridor and introduce the people of Chicago to several small businesses that are assisting in the improvement of the community.  This grant will also introduce the neighborhood & visitors to the Chicagoland area the different restaurants, gardens, arts, etc. that exist in this community and it will also showcase the talent that our young people have, which will assist in our customers enjoying the relaxing atmosphere that this will bring to the restaurant,” said Sharon McKinnie, Manager of MacArthur’s Restaurant. 

“Outdoor dining became a lifeline for many of our restaurants last year, which makes today’s announcement all the more exciting. I am thrilled that so many community organizations across our city have stepped up to participate in Chicago Alfresco and improve their neighborhoods by creating and enhancing spaces for residents to enjoy themselves in. With more and more proposals, Chicago Alfresco will only build on the success we have had with similar initiatives, beautify our city, and further ensure that our economic recovery from this pandemic is inclusive of all of our communities.

Chicago Alfresco demonstrates Mayor Lightfoot’s commitment to supporting neighborhoods and businesses as the City continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year the City introduced special permits that allowed bars and restaurants to operate outside in private parking lots, on the sidewalk, or in closed streets through the Expanded Outdoor Dining program. While that program continues, the City encouraged chambers of commerce and other neighborhood community groups to think beyond emergency traffic barricades and construction cones to propose and build design-forward outdoor community spaces through Chicago Alfresco. The new program is part of the City’s broader initiative to open streets and create places for dining, public life, community, arts, culture, walking, and biking.”

-Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Mayor of the City of Chicago

“Choose Chicago is excited to provide this grant to the Austin Chamber of Commerce thanks to generous support from Diageo North America. After more than a year of being socially distant, this creative new Chicago Alfresco space will be a much-needed opportunity to be outdoors and connect with our neighbors, whether they’re from next door or across the city. I can’t wait to check out Austin alfresco this summer!”

– Rob Fojtik, Senior Director of Neighborhood Strategy at Choose Chicago

On the Soul City corridor (Chicago Avenue), there will be four anchor restaurants. The entire block of 5900 W. Chicago Ave. supports this great initiative. The anchor restaurants that will be directly impacted are L& E Vienna, Bitoy’s Bistro, Batter & Berries/The Bruce (coming soon), and Coleman’s BBQ2, located at 5754 W. Chicago Ave.  This funding will also support the Austin Quality of Life Plan, a collaboration effort of over 500 Austin residents and community stakeholders, and the Austin community’s desire for increased arts and cultural awareness programs and opportunities, while supporting local businesses as they seek ways to increase foot traffic along the Madison and Chicago Avenue corridors. 

From restaurants to barber shops, clothing stores to a travel agency, an antique shop to event spaces, beauty/nail salons to insurance companies, from custom shops to shoe shops, convenient stores to gas stations, the Austin Chamber is on the move! Located on the westside of Chicago, Austin is the second largest (by population) of the city’s 77 officially defined community areas.  The Austin Chamber serves as a catalyst for the businesses in the Austin community of Chicago by developing and promoting a climate that is accessible, safe and attractive.   For more information about the Austin Chamber of Commerce and to learn about how you can join the Chamber, and our Visionary Networking Groups, visit our website at, or contact executive director, Tina Augustus at (773) 931-2145.

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