A new plan has been launched by Andrea Zopp (Chicago’s Chief Neighborhood Development Officer and Deputy Mayor) to help 50 entrepreneurs open businesses in the city’s “thrive zones.” These areas – primarily on the south and west sides – are being primed for a boost of retail energy, with the hoping of expanding the downtown area’s economic growth to other areas.
The areas – Austin, Back of the Yards, Bronzeville, Chatham, Englewood, South Shore, West Humboldt Park and West Pullman – have historically encountered substantial commercial action, which has been stunted in recent years.
The monetary assistance is intended to help local firms engage in business expansion, renovation, and more, ultimately leading to an increase in retail activity and additional job creation. Businesses involved in this include: beauty supply stores, fashion stores, grocery stores, etc. that already have a presence in the area.
Earlier this month there was significant advancement in the plan to develop affordable housing units in the same building as Chicago’s public libraries with the Mayor’s announcement as to which architects and developers won the bid for the project. The Irving Park, Little Italy and West Rogers Park facilities will all have access to ground floor libraries which will give community members and tenants services such as: early childhood learning programs, homework assistance, and teen digital tools among others.
The project first began in October of last year. A collaborative effort was developed by the Chicago Housing Authority in conjunction with the Chicago Public Library. The designs will – according to a statement – “break from the standard, cookie-cutter designs that are common to government buildings.”
In a report put out by the National Low Income Housing Coalition earlier this year Chicago was ranked at Number 37 for affordable housing availability. Hopefully it’ll go up on the list with these upcoming projects.