April 24, 2020

Strategic Partnerships Will Help Implement INVEST South/West Initiative

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West initiative will receive technical assistance and project management support through partnerships with strategic planning organizations, under a $7.3 million plan approved by City Council today.

Through its Main Street America program, the National Main Street Center will provide training, coaching, and consulting services to South and West side neighborhood groups and City staff for five years under a proposed contract valued at $500,000 per year. Funding will be allocated from the City’s corporate budget to support community workshops and training, focusing on comprehensive, multi-phased approaches involving proven commercial corridor revitalization techniques.

The Chicago office of Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC) will provide marketing and implementation assistance with commercial corridor improvement efforts for four years through a proposed contract valued at $1.2 million per year. Funding will be provided through the City’s Tax Increment Financing program for staff salaries, subcontract work, and related costs for identifying, attracting, and maintaining local businesses.

"These supportive partnerships are critical to enabling the INVEST South/West program to build on-the-ground capacity with local organizations and residents who work to strengthen and invigorate their neighborhoods every day,” said Maurice Cox, commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development (DPD), which administers the INVEST South/West initiative. “They’ll provide important resources as the City works to implement local improvement goals while also addressing the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.”

Launched last fall, INVEST South/West is intended to re-activate a dozen commercial corridors on the South and West sides that have historically served as focal points for pedestrian activity, shopping, transportation, public spaces, and other quality-of-life amenities for local residents. With $750 million in City support for infrastructure and economic incentives, the targeted corridors were prioritized through a DPD analysis of business activity and a series of community meetings this winter. The corridors include:

  • 47th and Ashland streets
  • 63rd/ and Halsted streets
  • 79th Street (Ashland to Lowe)
  • Chicago Avenue (Austin to Cicero)
  • Chicago Avenue (Kedzie to Pulaski)
  • Cottage Grove (42nd to 47th)
  • North Avenue (Lowell to Kedzie/Central Park to Cicero)
  • Ogden Avenue (Kedzie to Pulaski)
  • 79th Street (Stony Island to Exchange)
  • Commercial Avenue (87th to 92nd)
  • 111th Street (Ellis to King)
  • Michigan Avenue (111th to 119th)

Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center Inc., a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

LISC is the nation’s leading community development support organization.

For more information on the new INVEST South/West initiative, visit www.chicago.gov/investSW.

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