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On Monday night, Denver City Council approved two grant programs designating $1.5 million in federal COVID relief money to benefit Denver’s chefs, servers, and other hospitality workers.

In an effort to help businesses attract and retain workers, the Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA) is charged with handing out $1 million under the new “Denver Back to Work” program, and the Colorado Event Alliance, an organization launched in response to the pandemic, will be in charge of the remaining $500,000.

Eligible businesses must have at least one location in Denver, and there will be a $10,000 cap per business, but otherwise there are no rules for how the money should be spent — it could be used for anything to attract and retain employees, like child care.

With this amount of funding, the CRA estimates more than 940 Denver hospitality employees could receive $1,500 each, but they haven’t decided exactly how to distribute the money yet.

Aileen Reilly, co-owner of Denver Italian restaurant Coperta, told the Denver Post: “If we are able to have money to even say, ‘Hey, you have been with us through this and we just want to give you a little bonus for being part of it,’ that goes a long way.”
[Denver Post]

👉 What you can do: Find more ways to support the local restaurant scene through the Colorado Restaurant Association.

☔ Today will be partly sunny and likely wet, with chances of showers all day and a high around 66.

— Peyton Garcia, (@peytonmgarcia)


🪅 What’s next for Casa Bonita?
It’s officially official, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are under contract to buy Casa Bonita. The selling price came in at $3.1 million, and the deal is pending just one final signature from a judge in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Summit Family Restaurants, the current owner of the business, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections back in April and is facing nearly $3 million in debt relating to the restaurant. [Westword]
👉 What you can do: If you have an in, convince Matt and Trey to come on City Cast Denver to dish the deets.

🏠 New affordable housing slated for Barnum
Construction on a brand new affordable housing complex in Denver’s Barnum neighborhood is set to begin this fall. The complex, called Rhonda’s Place, will offer 49 one-bedroom units reserved for individuals making 30% or less of the area’s median income (no more than $22,000). Thanks to a City Council vote Monday evening, the city will kick in a $1.5 million loan, plus another $825,000, to implement services like behavioral health care, case management, and access to transportation. Construction is slated to wrap up by the end of next year. [Denverite]

🎨 Denver artist named MacArthur Fellow
The prestigious MacArthur Foundation has just named Denver-born painter Jordan Casteel one of 25 fellowship recipients for 2021. The MacArthur Fellowship Program awards “no-strings-attached” stipends of $625,000 to creatives of all mediums (art, literature, science, entrepreneurship) who show “exceptional creativity” and “promise.” Casteel specializes in large-scale portraits of the people around her. [Denverite]
👉 What you can do: Check out Jordan Casteel’s work.


A Serious Breakfast Burrito Throwdown
23 mins
Peyton, Paul, Xandra, and Bree convene at the new RiNo ArtPark to trade breakfast burritos from four acclaimed establishments in the Denver area and chow down. The City Cast Denver crew then shares who they think makes the best breakfast burritos in town

🎁 Want City Cast Swag? 

Refer your friends to the City Cast Denver newsletter because it’s awesome and you love it — aaand because you can earn super sweet City Cast swag while doing it! Use your unique referral link to start referring now! 


+ FRIDAY: Ghosts of Capitol Hill Walking Tour
Discover a spookier side of Denver as you explore the city’s legends, lore, and haunted histories. Tours kick off this Friday and continue through November.

+ SATURDAY: Inside the Writer’s Studio with Edwidge Danticat
Lighthouse Writers Workshop hosts author Edwidge Danticat for a craft talk, live reading, Q&A, and book signing at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre (or virtually).

+ ALL WEEKEND: Amazing Art Expo
This weekend, the Colorado Convention Center will be packed with incredible artwork (for purchase!) capturing scenes and characters from Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, popular anime, and more. 


Lakeside Amusement Park circa 1930s. (Courtesy of Denver Public Library Digital Collections)

Is Lakeside Amusement Park the last remnant of “White City”-style architecture in the country? Blogger Lauren Modery makes the case in a recent post on her website about the park’s connection with the 1983 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, which was known as the first White City for its “stucco buildings and many lights,” according to Lauren. Here’s an excerpt that I thought summed up Lakeside nicely (as you know, we at City Cast Denver are big Lakeside fans):

“If you love history, ruin porn, or vintage signage, Lakeside Amusement Park is a must. If you like old-timey steel or wooden rides, Lakeside Amusement Park is a must. If you like hamburgers and hot dogs from stands with peeling paint and half-broken neon signs, Lakeside Amusement Park is a must. If you like being in a diverse setting of folks who appreciate Lakeside Amusement Park for exactly what it is, then it’s a must.” [Read the full blog post]

Learn more about Lakeside’s 113-year history from this enlightening post and this REALLY COOL old-timey photo gallery courtesy of the Denver Public Library.

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