‘Dining on the 5’ draws hundreds to Chatham’s business district

As part of its ongoing effort to develop Commercial Design Guidelines in Chatham, DPD co-hosted “Dining on the 5” this month, a weekend filled with good food, live music and outdoor dining on 75th Street in the heart of Chatham’s Business District.

Hundreds of people attended the event July 20–22, where neighborhood establishments like Lem’s BBQ and Brown Sugar Bakery offered special $5 dining deals and arranged for live music and DJs. DPD worked with other city agencies and community volunteers to allow temporary parklets to be built, creating an outdoor dining experience unique to the neighborhood.

“It was wildly successful, the vibe on the block was fantastic and created a great atmosphere of camaraderie and community,” said Nedra Sims-Fears, executive director of the Greater Chatham Initiative, one of the event’s key co-sponsors.

After the weekend, four of the businesses were given City approval to keep the parklets through Labor Day. Sims-Fears said at least one of the businesses saw its sales double over a typical weekend.

The Chatham Commercial Design Guidelines initiative began earlier this summer and seeks to create a set of guidelines that can enhance the condition of Chatham’s commercial corridors along 75th Street, 79th Street and Cottage Grove. The work will create a cohesive brand for the area and guide the growth the neighborhood will see through the Retail Thrive Zones initiative and the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund. More than a dozen Chatham businesses were awarded grants through the two programs earlier this year.

Two community meetings on the design guidelines took place in June and July, and a third is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 18 at 9:30 a.m. at the Whitney M. Young Library, 7901 S. King Drive. DPD will offer information on the draft design guidelines at that event, and it’s open to the public.

A time lapse video of volunteer workers assembling the parklet outside Brown Sugar Bakery, 328 E. 75th St.

Co-hosts for “Dining on the 5” also included the office of Ald. Roderick Sawyer, the Driehaus Foundation, the Congress for the New Urbanism, the Chatham Business Association, SSA 51, as well as the architectural firm of Farr Associates, which designed and organized the construction of the parklets pro-bono.

View more photos from the event at this link.

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