SAUGANASH — Business districts throughout the 39th Ward should become more pedestrian friendly, Ald. Margaret Laurino told the Sauganash Chamber of Commerce Friday at a luncheon held to discuss the state of the ward.
That is the key to boost economic development at a time when there still isn't a huge number of developments and projects being proposed, Laurino said.
"My obligation is to get out there and talk to everyone — developers, business owners, property owners, entrepreneurs," Laurino said, noting that people are no longer lined up outside her office to ask for her support for new projects like they were before the economic crash in 2008. "I'm not just sitting behind my desk."
In addition, Laurino said she is working with the Sauganash chamber to implement a Special Service Area in its business district to help businesses thrive with additional services like facade improvement plans and enhanced security.
Approximately 100 people attended the luncheon at Monastero's.
Laurino will also focus this year on the additions to the 39th ward under a new Chicago City Council map. Laurino will no longer represent a portion of Albany Park, but will add parts of Edgebrook, Old Edgebrook, Gladstone Park, Indian Woods and Forest Glen.
In Albany Park, Laurino said she was working to revitalize the Mayfair business district along Lawrence Avenue as well as the Bryn Mawr shopping area, with help from nearby Northeastern Illinois University.
In addition, the city is working to replace aging pipes and sewers throughout the 39th Ward - work paid for by hikes in residents and business' water bills.
A member of the council's transportation committee, Laurino said she would continue to push for more bike lanes throughout the ward.
"That will improve the quality of life for everyone," Laurino said.