Public Outdoor Plaza (POP!) program
The Department of Planning and Development's Public Outdoor Plaza (POP!) program launched in early 2022 to help community-based organizations revitalize underutilized land along neighborhood retail corridors.
The program sought proposals to create strategic community gathering spaces that serve as destination points for local residents, shoppers, commuters and neighborhood visitors. Viable proposals were eligible for up to $500,000 in City funding for construction, design and maintenance costs. Proposed plaza locations could be publicly or privately owned but must be located within moderate- or low-income areas. Proposed improvements to existing plazas and gathering spaces were also considered.
The POP! initiative, under the direction of DPD Commissioner Maurice Cox, initially provided funding for approximately 10 to 15 POP! plazas to be created citywide. A pilot effort launched in 2020 resulted in the creation of the POPCourts! community gathering space at Chicago and Lockwood avenues in Austin in 2021.
A first-round Request for Proposals (RFP) for new plazas was issued by DPD in February 2022 and closed March 2022. A second-round RFP was issued in March 2022 and closed April 2022. Delegate agencies, business organizations and chambers of commerce were encouraged to respond.
POP! is part of the Chicago Recovery Plan’s ambitious $1.2 billion strategy for equitable economic recovery and support for thriving and safe communities. Please email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community areas eligible for POP! include:
East Garfield Park
Greater Grand Crossing
Lower West Side
West Garfield Park