On October 20, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois the mayor, Lori E. Lightfoot, announced that 11 community-driven revitalization projects that will redevelop healthier, more-walkable, and more-affordable neighborhoods across the city were selected to participate in the inaugural Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD) Pilot Program.
“Our ultimate goal with the ETOD program is to maximize the benefits that high-quality, affordable and reliable transit provides to our communities,” said Mayor Lightfoot.
“Each of these 11 projects will help us fulfill this mission in an equitable and community-conscious way, as well as help to improve the overall wellbeing of our residents. I want to congratulate all of our winning teams and look forward to breaking ground and cutting ribbons to their developments in the near future,” she added.
In partnership with Elevated Chicago and Enterprise Community Partners, the City of Chicago is providing $160,000 in microgrants and technical assistance to support project construction near transit stations across Chicago. The winners were selected through a community-driven application process, with each winner receiving up to $20,000.
The winners include:
- Briget’s Bodega, 125 W. 95th St., Roseland
- Coalition Food Hall, 2800 W. Madison St., East Garfield Park
- Homan-Harrison Mixed-Use Development Project, 600 S. Homan Ave., East Garfield Park
- Equity Arts Project, 1500 N. Milwaukee Ave., West Town
- Food Matters, 435 E. 43rd St., Grand Boulevard
- Gateway 79, State and 79th streets, Chatham
- Overton Center of Excellence, 221 E. 49th St., Grand Boulevard
- Albany Park Plaza, 3300 W. Lawrence Ave., Albany Park
- Cross the Street: Art on Clark, Rogers Park
- Emmett Street Apartments Public Art and Placemaking, 2614 N. Emmett St., Logan Square
- 35th/Archer Orange Line ETOD Vision Project, 3528 S. Leavitt St., McKinley Park
“Our team is enthusiastic about being selected for the ETOD Pilot Program and look forward to bringing our project to fruition. Coalition Food Hall’s objective is to build community equity, create employment opportunities and build a welcoming space for the Garfield Park community. Working along with the program’s partner organizations, we look to implement a community investment vehicle (CIV) tailored for local residents to contribute as investors in the development. Coalition Food Hall anticipates being the anchor that spurs commercial development near the California CTA Green Line station along Madison Avenue on the Westside of Chicago,” said Anton Hilton, managing partner of Hilton Group LLC.
The Pilot Program was launched as early implementation of the City’s first-ever ETOD Policy Plan. Adopted by the Chicago Plan Commission in June 2021, the three-part ETOD plan was developed over the past two years to foster more equitable transit-oriented development citywide.
The plan’s goals include driving investment in transit-oriented projects on the South, West, and Southwest sides while also preventing displacement and promoting affordability in the North and Northwest sides of the city. The selected pilot projects range from affordable housing to a community-owned grocery store to walkability and public art improvements near transit.
“These ETOD pilots are bringing affordable housing, community centers, small businesses, cultural venues and public art within walking distance to train stations and bus routes. They are feasible, equitable, aligned with the ETOD Policy Plan and transit-focused,” said Roberto Requejo, program director of Elevated Chicago. “While community residents have already shown their support, it is our hope that all Chicagoans will embrace these pilots as their own, help us amplify them, and bring them to fruition.”
“This was an unprecedented selection process for which we were intentional in assembling a group of leaders representing the diversity of our city, with a special focus on race and ethnicity,” added Requejo. “The process was rooted in Elevated Chicago’s rules of engagement and ensured transparency and power-sharing from the call for proposals to the final consensus. We hope lessons learned from this process will inform future investments, including the recently proposed $10M allocation to ETOD in Mayor Lightfoot’s 2022 budget.”
Applications for the ETOD pilot program opened in June. More than 25 applications were received by the City of Chicago, representing 20 community areas across Chicago. Each application was evaluated and scored by a selection committee that focused on four key criteria: feasibility, equity, alignment and transit.
“With initiatives like ETOD and INVEST South/West, Mayor Lightfoot is truly showing her commitment to creating vibrant, walkable, and equitable communities in every corner of Chicago,” said DPD Commissioner Maurice Cox. “Development projects like the ones selected today will help reshape the front doors to neighborhoods as diverse as Bronzeville, Rogers Park, Roseland and Wicker Park.”
The committee consisted of more than a dozen individuals representing numerous City departments, community-based organizations, the private sector, philanthropies, and regional nonprofits.
“Congratulations to the 11 selected winners of the City’s eTOD Pilot Program, and to the communities that will benefit from these thoughtful plans driven by the power that transit has to transform how neighborhoods serve their residents,” said DOH Commissioner Marisa Novara. “The Lightfoot Administration’s commitment to equitable development throughout all 50 wards while preventing displacement of long-term residents remains foremost and was key in the selection of these developments.”
The Mayor’s proposed Chicago Recovery Plan, introduced with the 2022 budget, includes significant multi-year funding to support community-driven initiatives like the selected pilots, including $10 million for ETOD, $10 million to support BIPOC-owned food businesses and urban agriculture, $15 million to support community wealth building projects, and more.
“The ETOD pilots are a great demonstration of how communities and cities can work together to leverage our existing transportation assets,” said CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi. “Being able to walk or bike comfortably to transit is critical to the well-being of a neighborhood, and we look forward to partnering with the grantees to improving walkability and supporting these pilot projects.”
The planning process that led to today’s selections included reviews of previous TOD policy improvements in 2013, 2015, and 2019. It also included a draft ETOD policy report issued last fall that generated more than 3,400 online views and hundreds of supportive comments during its 45-days public comment period.
Photo of downtown Chicago neighborhood by Iulian Ursache from Pixabay.
See the final ETOD plan and more information about the grant winners.