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Grant program offers help to downtown businesses

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Posted at 5:46 AM, May 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-29 10:36:23-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX18) — With bars still unable to open and large traditional gatherings like Thursday Night Live still on hold, downtown Lexington still looks more like a ghost town. To provide a little insurance to make sure as many businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic, some assistance is being offered from a familiar partner.

Friday marks a new chapter for Dougie Allen, owner of Creaux on East Short Street, they will be serving customers for the first time in a COVID-19 world.

"It's definitely been a couple of months, " Allen said.

In the past 60 days or so, the downtown spot known for their New Orleans style food, cocktails and vibrant music scene, like so many others, has been dealing with a lot of unknowns.

"What's going to happen, you know should we try to reopen, or should we try to wait a little longer, so everything's kinda up in the air, " Allen explained.

They have spaced out their seating and have plans to keep everyone safe, but they still have to rely on people showing up. Typically, people are pulled into downtown for things like Thursday Night Live or concerts, but with all of those events still up in the air, all Allen can do is open the doors and hope those crowds return.

Allen said, "Depending on the day, the time you know concerts, basketball games can really be impactful."

In the meantime, The Downtown Lexington Partnership, the organization behind many of those events, is reaching out to help.

"It's affected everyone, and especially an area like downtown where we thrive on the energy of people being together, " said Ethan Howard of the Downtown Lexington Partnership.

The Downtown Lexington Partnership along with the Lexington Management District have developed the Reopening and Recovery Grant Program. It is specifically for downtown businesses like Creaux, to help with everything from getting their places set up for more social distancing to paying their bills to marketing needs.

Howard said, "These are our friends. These are our neighbors. They are employers, they are small businesses people that are in the community and that we interact with and work with every day. Their success is our community success and our downtown success. And we thought we should leverage whatever we could to help them get started."

Dougie Allen said this type of help is desperately needed and appreciated, and it relieves some stress as they reopen their doors.

"We're just excited for not only what that will do for our business but for the other businesses downtown as well because we all feed off of each other, and if there's no reason to go downtown then we don't have a business, " Allen explained.

If you are a downtown business and think you would benefit from this grant, contact Ethan Howard at ethan@downtownlex.com to get more information. You can also visit www.downtownlex.com.

Howard said, "We're looking forward to the days when we can freely gather back downtown again, but until then, we'll figure out how to make it work and the safest way possible."