WEST TOWN — A taxpayer-funded group is developing a "Master Plan" for West Town and residents and business owners are encouraged to weigh in on how to reshape the neighborhood's growing commercial corridors.
The $30,000 planning project will eventually result in a 5-Year Master Plan, which will help the area to "grow organically" by focusing on entertainment and culture, politics, green and open space, infrastructure and migration, according to the plan's website.
The research will be funded by the West Town Chamber of Commerce and Special Service Area Taxpayer District No. 29.
The recently remapped district includes Chicago Avenue between Western Avenue and Halsted Street; Milwaukee Avenue between Division and Erie streets; Ashland Avenue between Chicago Avenue and Division Street; Damen between Chicago Avenue and Huron Street; and Ogden Avenue from the Kennedy Expressway to just west of the Chicago River.
Special Service Taxpayer District No. 29 collects taxpayer dollars from commercial streets and spends it on neighborhood beautification, community grants, advertising to promote the area and other endeavors.
Last year, after several community meetings and a bit of controversy, the district was renewed for another 15 years and will expire at the end of 2030.
Two intern consultants from the University of Illinois Chicago, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs were hired as a consultant team for the planning project, a spokesman said, adding that this is the first time the West Town SSA has created a 5-Year Master Plan.
The goal of the 5-Year Master Plan is to strengthen the business district.
“We’re giving everyone a voice in creating a brighter future,” said Kara Salgado, executive director of the West Town Chamber of Commerce, “so that West Town continues to be a destination for shopping, dining, nightlife and culture.”
The first part of creating the Master Plan, "Connecting West Town" is underway.
The last two of five public sessions for residents and business owners are set for 2-4 p.m. Aug. 27 at Defibrillator Gallery, 1463 W. Chicago Ave., and 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at OutCold, 2848 W. Chicago Ave.
The August session will be a workshop focused on answering questions such as "Which businesses should open here? What infrastructure would you like built? What sort of developments should we encourage?"
The September session will be a "Design Charrette" where community members will work in small teams and come up with their own projects, developments, and solutions to problems brought up in previous workshops.
For more info, visit westtownssa.org/masterplan or call the Chamber and Special Service Area District No. 29 office at 312-850-9390.
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