ENGLEWOOD — Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined aldermen and community leaders Thursday to announce a partnership aimed at bringing more businesses and jobs to the South Side.
A new partnership, the Southwest Corridor Collaborative, is going to provide tens of millions of dollars in funding for targeted economic development.
The non-profit Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) will provide $500,000 to cover building capacity in local businesses and supporting the neighborhood groups and an additional $50 million over the next 10 years in lending for investments in real estate and local neighborhood businesses.
The Southwest Corridor Collaborative (SWCC) is a partnership with the mayor, LISC Chicago, the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, Southwest Organizing Project and Teamwork Englewood.
LISC CEO Maurice Jones and executive director Meghan Harte shared the news outside of an old firehouse, near the Englewood Whole Foods, on Thursday. Others in attendance included Ald. David Moore (17th), Ald. Toni Foulkes (16th), Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp, Teamwork Englewood’s Rosalind Moore, Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation’s Carlos Nelson and others.
“The Southwest Corridor Collaborative is bringing together a broad coalition of partners focused on innovative ways to drive growth and create new economic opportunities,” Emanuel said. “I look forward to working with these partners as we build a world-class city with a world-class future, block by block and neighborhood by neighborhood.”
He said that new developments like Englewood Square gives Chicago an opportunity to make historic progress in the area and continue revitalizing neighborhoods.
This effort will focus on economic development along 63rd Street from Cottage Grove to Pulaski, and along Halsted and 79th Street. The SWCC will produce community-led strategies at targeted intersections along the corridor that will leverage investments in real estate, housing, small businesses, transit and employment opportunities, officials said.
Long-time Englewood natives are excited about this investment.
Aysha Butler, president of the Resident Association of Greater Englewood, said this type of partnership is long overdue.
“It’s a very great marriage and I’m really excited to see more investments in communities of color in general,” she said. “It’s long overdue and this area, 63rd Street, it should be vibrant, all the way from the lake to Pulaski.”
She grew up in Englewood and is still a resident. Butler said this investment will help bring back smaller businesses. She said she misses the time when everybody knew everyone including the business owners.
“Whole Foods feels that way but that’s how it always used to be, where the grandmother was working as the cashier and a teenage boy was doing the bagging, we all knew each other,” she said.
Cherice Price with Teamwork Englewood also grew up in Englewood. She said she misses the sense of community that was prevalent throughout her neighborhood.
Price said that the partnership will bring a lot of good to Englewood because it’ll create jobs, which are desperately needed.
“This is awesome,” she said. “I think it’s absolutely amazing anytime you have someone bringing money and subsequently jobs into a community. This is what’s needed.”
Since being elected into office, Moore has been an advocate for economic development. He has also always stressed the importance of aldermen working together.
“I think this is a good start, but we just have to continue to keep doing it,” he said. “We need to see three to four projects going on at one time between 63rd and 79th Streets.”
Committed SWCC partners include: Ald. Foulkes, 16th Ward, Chicago Cares, Comcast, Community Investment Corporation, Cook County Land Bank, The National Equity Fund, The PrivateBank, Urban Partnership Bank, US Bank and World Business Chicago.
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