Corridor Ambassador Program to Expand Neighborhood Services in 2023
Chicago Recovery Plan initiative will enhance local commercial corridors
Department of Planning and Development 312.744.9267
The City of Chicago’s Corridor Ambassador program will expand from 12 neighborhood retail strips to 17 starting in June, the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) announced today.
The program, which provides in-person hospitality services to shoppers and businesses within neighborhood shopping districts, will support five additional community-based organizations with approximately $1.35 million in funding for ambassador training and payroll costs. The new locations and organizations include:
- Wentworth Avenue, Cermak Road and Archer Avenue in Chinatown by the Coalition for a Better Chinese Community.
- 63rd Street and Western Avenue in Chicago Lawn by the Greater Southwest Development Corp.
- Howard Street in Rogers Park by the Rogers Park Business Alliance.
- Roosevelt Road and Madison Street in Austin by Resilience Partners NFP.
- West 63rd Street in Englewood by Teamwork Englewood.
"As part of my administration's commitment to revitalizing our neighborhoods, the Corridor Ambassador program is making commercial corridors more friendly and accessible to residents and visitors," Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot said. "Additionally, this program is making our communities safer and connecting residents who need it most to essential City services. After seeing the success of this program so far, I am thrilled to see it expand to more neighborhoods and continue serving pedestrians, shoppers, and local businesses."
The organizations will each use approximately $270,000 in Chicago Recovery Plan funding to employ five to 10 neighborhood residents to greet and assist shoppers and pedestrians along each corridor. They’ll provide information on dining, parking and shopping, as well as upcoming events and activities. Ambassadors will also help direct people experiencing homelessness to City resources, while coordinating with public safety agencies on potential hazards, medical emergencies, and possible criminal activity.
In 2022, corridor ambassadors completed approximately 21,000 engagements with business owners, workers, and shoppers; 2,800 interactions with people experiencing homelessness; and 700 incident reports.
“The Corridor Ambassadors program produced exceptional results in its first year, providing hyperlocal, personal assistance to people as they visited, shopped, or worked along these key arterials,” DPD Commissioner Maurice Cox said. “The program’s expansion will deliver even more concierge-like services to neighborhoods in need.”
Ambassadors wear brightly colored attire and have a corridor presence from five to 12 hours per day, five to seven days per week, based on corridor needs. At least two ambassadors work simultaneously in each corridor.
"It's great to see the Corridor Ambassadors program spreading to more neighborhoods and partnering with local organizations like the Coalition for a Better Chinese Community," Ald. Nicole Lee (11th) said, whose ward includes Chinatown. "The presence of Corridor Ambassadors in our commercial districts will create safer, more welcoming experiences for residents and tourists who come to our communities."
"I know I speak for residents and business owners when I say that the Corridor Ambassadors program is a welcome presence along Howard Street in Rogers Park," Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) added. "I and several of my colleagues on City Council saw the success of early iterations of this program and worked hard to bring them home to our wards. Thanks to the hard work of staff at the Department of Planning and Development and so many community partners, I know the Corridor Ambassadors will continue to make our neighborhoods safer and more welcoming to all."
The new organizations were selected through a DPD Request for Proposals (RFP) issued in February.
Ambassadors are also returning for the second year to Auburn Gresham, Austin, Back of the Yards, Belmont Cragin, Bronzeville, Chatham, Englewood, Humboldt Park, Loop, the Mag Mile, Uptown, West Garfield Park.
The Chicago Recovery Plan is the City’s $1.2 billion strategy for equitable economic recovery and support for thriving and safe communities.