Last week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a measure that would fund neighborhood business investments on the South, Southwest and West sides of Chicago.
Chicago’s City Council will decide this week whether to authorize an additional $6 million in funding for the city’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, which uses voluntary contributions from downtown development projects to support commercial corridor growth on Chicago’s South, Southwest and West sides. Developers contribute to the program in exchange for density bonuses that allow them to exceed zoning limits for a specific development site. The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund was created by Emanuel through reforms to the City’s Zoning Code in 2016.
The $6 million would become available to small businesses, who may apply for grants from the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund. There are specific eligibility and approval criteria, however.
At the announcement last week, Mayor Emanuel said, “The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund was created to ensure that, as one part of Chicago grows, we all benefit from that growth – because we are one Chicago with one future. Small business investments on the South, Southwest and West sides of the City catalyze positive economic change that creates jobs, provides needed services to neighborhoods and transforms buildings that have been closed for decades into spaces that create a sense of community.”
A complete list of current projects and additional information about Neighborhood Opportunity Fund grants is available here.