December 4, 2014

Mayor Emanuel Announces Second Round Results of CHIdeas, City’s Online Community Forum

City Will Implement Three Ideas Submitted by Residents to Support Small Businesses, Urban Agriculture, and Family Nutrition; Four New Discussion Topics Launched
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the results of the second round of CHIdeas, the online community forum launched this fall to engage Chicago residents and businesses in a discussion on how to improve services at City Hall, create programs and initiatives in our neighborhoods, and enhance quality of life across the city. Initial topics included discussions on minimum wage, additional support for early learners, using art to enrich our neighborhoods, and how libraries can be used to strengthen our communities.

“I am pleased to continue hearing so many innovative ideas from our residents and businesses on how to improve our great city,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Solutions don’t just come from City Hall – they come from our residents and the vibrant neighborhoods and communities across Chicago.”

During the second round of CHIdeas, the site nearly doubled in visitors, bringing the total number of unique visitors to nearly 5,700 over the first two months. Upon review of submitted ideas, the City will implement the following three proposals to support small business growth, help families create healthier lifestyles, and better utilize vacant lots:

CHIdea submitted by Krova K.
• Expand Small Business Expos: As suggested in response to the City’s question on how to better support our small business owners and entrepreneurs, the City will expand Small Business Expos to include an opportunity for small businesses that offer solutions for other small businesses to showcase their products and services, as well as host other direct small business networking opportunities. These opportunities will complement the free services, expert advice, and information already received from government agencies and nonprofit organizations throughout the year at these expos.

CHIdea submitted by Jasmin V.
• Create Healthy Food Programming for Families: CPS will partner with community-based organizations to implement family programming nights focused on making healthy food choices. These evenings of nutritional education will provide information and materials on ways to make healthier decisions in food purchasing and meal planning for families across Chicago.

CHIdea submitted by Ramone A.
• Better Utilize Vacant Lots in Residential Areas: In response to the City’s question on how to better utilize vacant parcels of land in residential areas, there was resounding feedback that urban agriculture was a great use for many of these parcels of land in residential areas. The City will continue to work with partners to develop some of these properties for agricultural purposes, as well as look into how we can expand upon these opportunities. This further supports the City’s Five-Year Housing Plan and its commitment to responsibly return more City-owned vacant land to productive, private use.

“The reason I came to City Hall was to work one-on-one with the businesses of Chicago and CHIdeas is another way I can hear directly from the business community,” said Roxanne Nava, Chief Small Business Officer. “Expanding the Small Business Expos is an excellent idea and I look forward to seeing the impact it will have on our small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the year.”

In addition, the City will consider a variety of the ideas suggested for how to improve the 311 experience over the next few years as improvements to the system are implemented.

The third round of topics launches today with the following four questions pertaining to emergency preparedness, book recommendations, supporting small businesses, and your favorite Chicago pictures:

  • Emergency Preparedness: How can we help communities prepare for emergencies (e.g., severe storm) or public health crises (e.g., H1N1 outbreak)?
  • Great Reads: If there was one book you could give to every Chicagoan to read, what would it be and why?
  • Supporting Small Businesses: How can local Neighborhood Business Development Centers better support small businesses?
  • Picture Chicago: Send us your Chicago pictures! Select submissions will be included in a collage to be displayed at City Hall.

Similar to portals used by the administration during the transition and budget processes, CHIdeas provides a structured platform to seek ideas from the public and promote community dialogue around key issues. The City poses specific questions on the site and asks residents to respond with constructive ideas and solutions and comment on other ideas from fellow residents. In the past, resident ideas have helped cut the structural deficit and streamline City processes. Most recently, the Minimum Wage Working Group developed their recommendations to implement a citywide minimum wage of $13 per hour, following six weeks of research, analysis, and public engagement that included five public meetings across the City and more than 200 comments submitted online. This input was critical in City Council approval of the ordinance approved yesterday to implement the citywide minimum wage of $13 per hour by 2019.

Any visitor to the site will be able to view the questions, comments, and dialogue posted. In order to post on the site, residents are required to register using their name and email address or can sign up directly via their Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google accounts. New questions will be added to the site regularly and residents are encouraged to check back often.

Visit www.chideas.org to add your voice to the conversation.

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