Mayor Lightfoot Invites Community Proposals for Equitable Development Projects Near Transit
As part of $10M initiative to foster vibrant, affordable communities connected to transit, City offers grant funding and technical assistance to community-led development projects
CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) are inviting community organizations, mission-driven developers, and businesses to apply for the Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD) grant program.
Supported by funding from Mayor Lightfoot’s Chicago Recovery Plan, the ETOD grant program allocates $10M to fund locally-led initiatives with their pre-development and development costs to renovate or construct new spaces and receive technical assistance to give them the know-how to make their visions a reality. Projects can range from affordable housing to mixed-use developments and initiatives like healthy food retail, community ownership business models and other equity-achieving proposals can receive funding if they are within walking distance of CTA and Metra stations or near high-frequency buses.
"In order to realize my administration's vision for an equitable and inclusive Chicago, we must significantly improve the ways we invest in our neighborhoods and address the wrongs of the past," said Mayor Lightfoot. "By making funding available directly to community organizations and local businesses, we are not only being true to our values but also supporting developments that are accessible and transformational for our communities. I look forward to seeing the proposals drafted by our community members turn into tangible, equitable, and inclusive developments through this funding."
Aligned with the Connected Communities Ordinance and Chicago Recovery Plan, this grant initiative supports Chicago’s economic recovery and fosters 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 ETOD grant program supports 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.
Applicants can apply to one of two grant tracks. Pre-development funding up to $150,000 per grant is available for early-stage initiatives that are looking to firm-up their scope, do detailed cost-estimating, confirm zoning compatibility & more before completing renovation or new construction. Development funding up to $250,000 per grant is available for shovel-ready sites in the advanced planning stages with secure site control and detailed plans in place for renovation or new construction. Grant recipients from both tracks will have access to the related ETOD technical assistance program that is anticipated to be run by the Center for Neighborhood Technology, Elevated Chicago, and a coalition of other Chicago-based organizations.
Applications are plain-language, easy to access, and available online to encourage broad participation from a wide range of communities, organizations, and residents. By including funding for pre-development activities, groups now have access to much needed seed-funding to move their projects to a stage where traditional financing and funding opportunities become accessible. Community and ETOD stakeholders identified this type of funding as essential to making meaningful progress toward ETOD’s equity focus.
Today’s invitation builds on the one-and-a-half years of work 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 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. “We are inviting proposals from community not-for-profits, mission-driven developers and small businesses to create spaces that will ensure a sustainable and resilient recovery in neighborhoods across Chicago, far beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.”
To learn more about the City’s Equitable Transit Oriented Development efforts, visit chi.gov/etod. The deadline for development grants is Friday, February 24, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. CT, and for pre-development grants is Tuesday, March 14, 2023 at 11:59 a.m. CT.
The ETOD Grant 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.