CHICAGO — Federal, state and local agencies will commit a combined $125,000 to devise a master plan for the physical and economic future of Jefferson Park, officials said.
The Regional Transportation Authority, the state agency that oversees the CTA, Pace and Metra, will convene city planners and outside consultants to collect data on the neighborhood's infrastructure then crowdsource ways to improve it, officials said.
The plan's goalis to "find ways to improve rider access to public transportation, while promoting sustainable, economic development in the area," according to announcement from the RTA.
The plan will involve a "public engagement process" with at least two open meetings to discuss how the neighborhood should be retooled in the coming years, according to Heather Tabbert, the RTA's manager of local planning and programs.
"We have no agenda here, and no pre-conceived ideas of what this plan will look like," Tabbert said. "This is an opportunity for the neighborhood to come together and set a course for what they want to see."
The bulk of funding for the plan will come from the federal Unified Planning Work Program, with $20,000 kicked in from the RTA and another $25,000 drawn from the Jefferson Park Tax Increment Financing District.
Ald. John Arena (45th) expects the plan to follow the same guiding principles as a similar document completed in 2013 for the Six Corners Shopping District, according to Arena's chief of staff, Owen Brugh.
The Six Corners plan called for making the area more dense and walkable as a means to reclaim its status as one of the city's premier shopping districts. Arena has credited the document with helping breathe life into the area, where two major projects are under construction alongside dozens of new shops and restaurants.
Even without a master plan for Jefferson Park yet, Arena has already pursued a similar strategy for the area surrounding the Jefferson Park Transit Center, where he's cultivated four separate proposals for apartment buildings totaling more than 300 units.
But the new plan will take the alderman's agenda "a step further," Brugh said.
Arena "has made no secret that he supports density near transit, but this takes that vision and looks at what other specific things we can leverage for economic development," he said.
Unlike the Gladstone Park Corridor Study completed earlier this year, the Jefferson Park plan will be fully adopted by the city's department of planning and development, officials said. It's expected to be finished and unveiled sometime next year.