Category Archives: Lifestyle

Marathon Makes Money

The Chicago Marathon is a great money maker.   Last year, revenue was outstanding with a contribution of $378 million to Chicago’s economy.  In 2017 the figure was also high but $40 million less.

This year there were 45,857 participants in what was the 41st Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  Nearly 30 percent were visiting from overseas which is also great for tourism and the economy.  Further, it adds to Chicago’s prestige as a tourist destination.  Indeed, according to Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot:

 “The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is not only one of the largest and most prestigious marathons in world, but it is also an economic engine for our city – including a record-setting $378 million last year – that takes runners through 29 dynamic neighborhoods that together showcase our city’s diversity, history, and beauty. As mayor and as a fan, I look forward to joining Chicagoans and cheering on runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries for the 42nd annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon.”

Jobs are also created from the marathon. For example, in 2018, 2,592 jobs were created, equaling $127 million in salaries.

Illinois State Fair

Over $6.5 million (a conservative estimate) in revenue came from this year’s Illinois State Fair.  This is a record amount for the event with the highest amount being raised to date occurring in 2013 at $6.4 million. 

The fair was inaugurated in 1853 and today is held at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Based on agriculture, today the fair has shows, competitions, parades, spectacles, festivals and more and the State Fairgrounds where it is held has over 100 permanent buildings for the event. This year around 509,000 individuals attended which was nearly 40 percent more than 2018 rendering it the highest amount since 2014.

This year the game was really stepped up with grandstand shows and more than 50 new vendors.  According to John Sullivan, Agricultural Director:

“We knew we had a great state fair. The economic engine that this fair drives is tremendous. It doesn’t just help the city, it helps the entire region here. It doesn’t just help the city, it helps the entire region here.”

Furthermore, according to Manager Kevin Gordon, some of the reasons the financial results were so positive this year was due to the following:  an increase of $150,000 in corporate sponsorships from last year and fairground camping area revenue increase of $20,000.

Revenue for grandstand acts was 110 percent of the cost for those acts, or 10 percent more than the state shelled out to the artists. Corporate sponsorships were up by $150,000 over last year, he said, to a total of $750,000. He said revenues from the camping area on the fairgrounds were up by $20,000.

Chicago: Local Quality of Life

Chicago is a wonderful place to live, featuring fabulous beaches (and the Chicago River), great culture (the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art), impressive educational institutes (Northwestern University and the University of Chicago) county fairs and so much more.

But for the regular man/woman in the street, what are some of the issues that are being confronted?  Here we look at how the region deals with the following: recidivism, housing and health.

A recent report published by the Metropolitan Planning Council in conjunction with the Illinois Justice Project has pointed out a practical way of decreasing recidivism.  It found that since so many of these programs focus on jobs, there is a lack of attention given to another hugely important area for returning prisoners:  housing. The report is suggesting a greater focus on this matter.

As such, the report has assembled over a dozen proposals that could assist government officials in this task and save the state of Chicago $100+m per year. Given that the current recidivism figures are close to 40 percent this is a huge issue.  The report found that a large number of these individuals returning to prison were struggling with housing.  According to co-author of the Re-Entry Housing Issues in Illinois report, King Harris:

“The discussion around preventing recidivism is always focused on job training for people and somewhat on their health needs. Rarely is the conversation focused on housing and we feel that is the missing link.” 

Another issue for Chicagoans is the reduction in their housing value.  The weakest rate of growth in over 42 months was reported in May of this year.  According to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, there was a miniscule 1.6 percent growth in the value local single family homes.  compared to the nation average, overall home prices developed less than half the 3.4 percent rate. one reason cited for this is slow job growth which again adds to recidivism issues.

In better news though, healthcare could be seen to be booming, or at least, hospitals.  Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital was ranked number 10 out of nearly 5,000 US hospitals in the 2019-20 Best Hospitals study. furthermore, according to a recent article by Lynne Marek:

“When it comes to health care, the Chicago area has a cottage industry of private-equity firms that invest in that sector, also including Linden Capital Partners, Waud Capital and Water Street Healthcare Partners, among others. The city developed the niche as professionals from health care giants Abbott and Baxter moved into investing.”