June 2, 2021

Mayor Lightfoot Opens Chicago Works Community Challenge for Applications

Calls on residents, community experts to give the city their biggest and best infrastructure ideas.

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced that applications are now open for the Chicago Works Community Challenge, an unprecedented $10 million competition to find the best public works projects in each of Chicago’s seven planning regions. Announced on her second anniversary in office, the challenge is another example of Mayor Lightfoot’s commitment to robust community engagement. 

"The Chicago Works Community Challenge provides an opportunity for all of our residents to tell us what infrastructure projects they want to see in their neighborhoods," said Mayor Lightfoot. "While seven projects will ultimately be selected, every idea we receive through this initiative will be forwarded to City agencies for future consideration as a part of our overarching five-year capital plan. I encourage residents from all walks of life to participate in this challenge, which makes neighborhood investment a collaborative effort." 

Projects eligible for funding through the Community Challenge include new investments in public parks, schools, libraries, City-run community centers and City-owned vacant lots. Members of the public who are interested in submitting an idea can register for an informational webinar on the challenge, scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 9. 

Applications are open to all City of Chicago residents and are due by Monday, Aug. 30. Community groups and nonprofits based in Chicago are also invited to submit proposals to the challenge. 

All submissions that meet the guidelines for selection will be subject to a thorough community engagement and evaluation process that will lead to a shortlist of projects for each of the seven planning regions. Seven winning projects will be selected by the end of this year based on feasibility, design, community input, and community impact. 

Additionally, all feasible submissions received through the community challenge will be considered as investment ideas for Chicago Works, Mayor Lightfoot’s five-year capital plan that will invest in communities through infrastructure. 

In addition to institutional investments like parks, schools and libraries, Chicago Works dedicates funding to repair and replace roads, bridges, sidewalks, ADA accessible crosswalk ramps, streetlights, traffic signals, and other traditional infrastructure projects.