The Council’s Finance Committee is holding a public hearing Thursday on a proposal to create a new business improvement district for Chinatown and renew an existing one for the Cottage Grove neighborhood.
Chicago has more than 50 of these special taxing districts, officially called Special Service Areas (SSAs), which are funded through a special property tax levy imposed on all property within the set boundaries. Most SSAs cover neighborhood commercial strips and support public amenities or beautification efforts in addition to those provided by the city. This could be anything from more trashcans, street lighting, snow removal, and private security.
The Chamber of Commerce in Chinatown is leading the effort to establish the boundaries in conjunction with local Ald. Danny Solis (25), who represents one of three wards that divide the neighborhood. According to this recent letter from Solis, Chinatown Square was removed from the proposed boundary because of a “delinquent tax lien.”
The new SSA 73 would cover 263 properties, 99% of which are zoned commercial or mixed-use. Under the proposed tax rate of 0.31%, the SSA projects a first year budget of $161,755.
Each SSA is governed by a delegate agency and board of commissioners whose appointments are approved by the City Council’s Finance Committee. The slate of Chinatown Advisory Board members is hosted on the advisory board’s website.
Meanwhile, the Cottage Grove/47th Street SSA, first established in 2008, is renewing its authority. Quad Communities Development Corporation, the SSA’s service provider, is leading the effort, along with local Ald. Sophia King (4). The SSA covers the neighborhoods south of Navy Pier along the lakefront, and had a 2017 budget of about $346,000.