November 22, 2022

Mayor Lightfoot Launches First Phase of $10 Million Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Program

City issues the first Request for Proposals (RFP) as part of new initiative to promote equitable development near transit under recovery efforts

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO — Today, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) launched the first phase of the Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD) grant program, a $10 million initiative. This initiative, supported by funding from the Chicago Recovery Plan, will fund and support community-led, equitable development near train stations and high-frequency bus corridors.   

During this first phase, organizations and entities are invited to respond to the RFP announced today to provide technical assistance for the community groups and other organizations that will receive grant funding in 2023. The City is looking for an experienced organization who can create support structures for local, grassroots organizations and community groups who are looking to realize community visions for development.  The City anticipates opening up multiple funding rounds for ETOD projects.  

The second phase of the program, launching next month, will provide grants and technical assistance to directly support the type of dense, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented development enabled by the Connected Communities Ordinance approved by the City Council in July.  

"In order to realize my administration's vision for an equitable city, we must redress and improve the ways we invest in our neighborhoods," said Mayor Lightfoot. "By putting funding support behind the Connected Communities Ordinance, we are living our values by supporting developments that are accessible to all residents as well as catalytic for their communities. I look forward to seeing the communities’ proposals for more equitable and inclusive development come to reality through this funding." 

Aligned with the Connected Communities Ordinance and Chicago Recovery Plan, this grant initiative will support Chicago’s economic recovery and foster thriving neighborhoods across the entire city. The City of Chicago’s ETOD approach supports a wide range of policies and plans to ensure every resident can live in a vibrant, healthy, and affordable community that connects them to transit and makes it easier for them to get to what they need — from jobs and schools to services and more. 

The City’s ETOD grant program, which is part of a new DPD universal application process for funding under $250,000, will support community-driven development near train stations and high-frequency bus corridors. Projects that show a commitment to advancing health and racial equity and that prioritize walkability and transit-orientation in their design will be prioritized for the funding and support. Projects can range from affordable housing developments to mixed-use developments with healthy food retail to community ownership business models and more.  

In October 2021, the City partnered with Elevated Chicago to select 11 community-driven projects to participate in an inaugural ETOD Pilot Program and receive micro-grant funding and access to technical assistance. The City is taking the lessons learned from this pilot program to launch this new $10 million initiative. 

Today’s announcement continues to build on the work done since Chicago’s first-ever ETOD Policy Plan was published and adopted by the Chicago Plan Commission. Those goals included driving investment near transit in disinvested communities, preventing displacement in communities facing rising housing costs, and promoting affordable housing options near transit in low-affordability communities — all while creating more walkable, people-centered neighborhoods everywhere. 

The City’s ETOD grant program will invest in projects that build on the policy plan’s goals and that benefit from the zoning enhancements created by the Connected Communities Ordinance while also providing those projects additional support.   

“The grants will help community stakeholders to shape their neighborhoods by improving walkability to corner stores, transit options, affordable housing, and other pedestrian-oriented amenities,” DPD Commissioner Maurice Cox said. 

To learn more about the City’s Equitable Transit Oriented Development efforts, visit chicago.gov/etod. The deadline to respond to the Equitable Transit Oriented Development Implementation Plan RFP is Friday, December 9, 2022, at 12 p.m. CST. 

The ETOD Program is part of the Chicago Recovery Plan, the City’s plan to amplify once-in-a-generation federal funding to create an equity-based investment strategy to catalyze a sustainable economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more, visit chicago.gov/recoveryplan. 

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