HYDE PARK — A new property tax for parts of Hyde Park has been used in the last year to pay for light poles to be cleaned 2,400 times and 2,391 bags of trash removed — among other initiatives to draw people to the neighborhood.
The Special Service Area No. 61 was launched in mid-2014 and levies a .625-percent property tax on portions of Hyde Park.
Administrators have just released how they spent $347,854 in 2015 during the district’s first full year of operation.
The taxing body spent nearly three-quarters of its budget, $255,028, on getting shoppers and tourists down to Hyde Park’s streets and sprucing up the area.
To draw people to the neighborhood, the SSA financially supported the summer Sunday concert series in Nichols Park and the inaugural Downtown Hyde Park Fest, which is estimated to have brought 4,500 people to Hyde Park.
Besides new banners and a new logo for the neighborhood, much of the money was spent on keeping the neighborhood clean.
The report estimates that 1,771 bags of garbage were removed and 620 more recycled, 230 abandoned bikes were removed, 84 flower baskets planted and more than five miles of sidewalk were power washed. In addition, 200 light poles and 60 garbage cans were cleaned every month.
“The end result was a more attractive and welcoming downtown Hyde Park,” said Michael McGarry, chairman of the commissioners for the SSA, in the report.
Other expenditures include a branding campaign and new logo for the neighborhood, which has appeared on banners in much of the tax district, which generally runs along 53rd Street from Woodlawn Avenue to South Hyde Park Boulevard, Lake Park Avenue from East Hyde Park Boulevard to 55th Street and portions of 55th Street from Lake Park Avenue to South Hyde Park Boulevard.
The district is administered locally by the South East Chicago Commission and a board of commissioners appointed by the alderman.
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