New Tax District Proposed by Ald. Will Burns to Clean Up 53rd Street

By Sam Cholke on February 1, 2013 5:38pm 

 Ald. Will Burns (4th), left, sits next to former 4th Ward Ald. Shirley Newsome at a community meeting where his plan for a special service area for 53rd Street was announced.
Ald. Will Burns (4th), left, sits next to former 4th Ward Ald. Shirley Newsome at a community meeting where his plan for a special service area for 53rd Street was announced.
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DNAInfo/Sam Cholke

HYDE PARK — Ald. Will Burns (4th) is proposing a new taxing district to bring back neighborhood services once paid for out of the 53rd Street Tax Increment Financing District.

Burns has assembled an 18-member committee of residents and business owners to draft a proposal for a special service area for 53rd Street.

The new district, if approved by City Council, would levy a property tax in an area along East 53rd Street, and those revenues would go into a fund for services like street cleaning, beautification and other services.

“It’s our money, it’s bring benefit to us, so why not?” said James Poueymirou, a home mortgage consultant and chair of the committee drafting the SSA application.

Poueymirou is working with Wendy Walker Williams, director of the South East Chicago Commission, to complete the application before the June deadline. Local nonprofits are contracted to administer funds from the SSA and the SECC is expected to manage a 53rd Street SSA.

Poueymirou and Williams said the SSA could provide funds to bring Cleanslate back to pick up litter in the neighborhood.

Cleanslate, a program that also provides on-the-job training to people who face difficulties finding employment because of a prior arrest or other issues, was previously funded by the 53rd Street Tax Increment Financing District.

Funding was cut in June 2011 for the $217,000-a-year program because TIF revenue was committed to funding the redevelopment of the Harper Court shopping Center at East 53rd Street and South Harper Avenue.

At the time, an SSA for 53rd Street was suggested and is now being seriously pursued by Burns to replace services the TIF no longer funds.

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