October 21, 2014

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Announces Results Of City’s Online Community Forum

City Will Implement Three Ideas Submitted by Residents to Support Early Learners and Expand Chicago Public Library Resources; Four New Discussion Topics Launched

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the results of the first round of CHIdeas, the online community forum launched last month 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. Round one topics included discussions on what a sufficient minimum wage might be, what programs and opportunities can provide additional support for early learners, how art can be used to enrich our neighborhoods, and how libraries can be used to strengthen our communities.

“Solutions for Chicago don’t just come from City Hall – they come from the businesses and residents across our vibrant neighborhoods and communities,” said Mayor Emanuel. “CHIdeas is another way we can continue to hear directly from the public to improve our great city.”

More than 3,000 unique visitors came to the site over the last month, proposing suggestions and engaging in discussions with fellow residents. Upon review of submitted ideas, the City will implement the following three proposals to improve early learning support for children and expand tools used by Chicago Public Library (CPL) to better serve communities:

CHIdea submitted by Celena R.
• Improve Early Learning Support for Immigrant Children: As suggested in response to the City’s question on how to better support our youngest learners, the City will develop comprehensive early education support for immigrant children and their families. This initiative will include parent engagement efforts and support for families navigating early education opportunities to determine the best fit for their children. The Department of Family and Support Services will invest $125,000 for this effort and issue an RFP by the end of the year to identify a partner to develop and implement the program.

CHIdea submitted by Cynthia B.
• Expand Chicago Public Library Online Resources: CPL will partner with YOUmedia, a teen mentoring program to develop technology and digital media skills, to launch a YouTube channel featuring videos from their workshops, lectures, and other events. These resources will extend the reach of CPL services to those unable to attend events and build upon CPL’s efforts to expand its online presence, which began in April 2014 with the launch of a redesigned website and improved library catalog.

CHIdea submitted by Rill H.
• Create Library Partnerships with Local Business Incubators: CPL will form partnerships with business incubators across the city to provide additional resources to local small business owners and entrepreneurs. Librarians possess a wealth of knowledge about critical business resources and this initiative will connect them to growing businesses in order to spur economic development in Chicago.

“The solutions proposed from residents through CHIdeas make a lot of sense for Chicago Public Library and the communities we serve,” said Brian Bannon, Chicago Public Library Commissioner. “I look forward to implementing these ideas and seeing the immediate impact they will have on our businesses and residents across the city.”

The second round of topics launches today with the following four questions pertaining to 311 modernization, small business services, healthy family lifestyles, and vacant land usage:

• 311 Modernization: What are new ways in which you’d like to contact and engage with the 311 Call Center and how can the City improve your 311 experience?
• Small Business Services: How can our Small Business Expos better support small business owners and entrepreneurs across the city?
• Healthy Chicago: What strategies can be employed to help parents and children create healthier, more active lifestyles?
• Vacant Land: Thee City owns many vacant parcels of land in residential neighborhoods - how can these empty lots be better utilized?

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.

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.