The meeting takes place TOMORROW (Wednesday, July 6th), 6:30 p.m., at the Caroline Hedger Apartments, 6400 N. Sheridan (at Devon). The meeting will allow me and my colleague, 40th Ward Alderman Patrick O’Connor, whose ward falls within a portion of the SSA boundaries, to gauge community support for the idea.
This is the second of two community meetings on this issue. The first meeting was held on Monday morning, June 20th, and provided identical information.
A Special Service Area (SSA) is an economic development tool, created by state statute and city ordinance, in which a tax is levied on property in a defined geographical area to fund added services for that area. Unlike other property tax revenue, which is deposited in the general fund to be distributed to all the County’s taxing bodies, the SSA tax proceeds are kept in the neighborhood and are used only for the benefit of those properties located within the SSA boundaries.
The proposed SSA tax levy would be assessed only on Sheridan Road properties from the north side of Devon to the south side of Farwell. If you do not own property on Sheridan Road between Devon and Farwell you will not see any change in your property tax levy due to the SSA.
Examples of services provided in an SSA include sidewalk maintenance and beautification, landscaping, advertising/marketing, business retention/recruitment, parking, and public safety. Currently, 43 active SSAs exist in Chicago with budgets ranging from $10,000 to $2.7 million, with an average budget of $540,000.
Two SSAs exist in the 49th Ward–Howard Street SSA #19 and Clark/Morse/Glenwood SSA #24. They fund regular sidewalk cleaning and snow removal, public safety cameras, and business promotional activities and events, such as the Glenwood Sunday Market and the Clark Street Festival.
The proposed SSA came about as a result of a community planning process sponsored by the Rogers Park Business Alliance. Community residents, business owners, property owners and stakeholders met over the course of several months in 2009 and 2010 and developed a series of recommendations to improve Sheridan Road in the areas of shopping mix, design and appearance, and transportation and safety. The recommendations were presented to the community at a public meeting held last November.
Among the committee’s recommendations was the creation of an SSA on Sheridan Road to provide a reliable and consistent source of funding for improvements along the corridor. City and state budget cuts have eliminated funding for cleaning, greening, promoting and marketing commercial districts. SSAs remain as the only reliable funding source for such projects.
In March, 2011, the Rogers Park Business Alliance convened a steering committee of Sheridan Road stakeholders to examine the proposed boundaries, budget and tax levy that would make sense for the street. The proposed budget for the Sheridan SSA is $81,404, which would allow for sidewalk cleaning, landscaping, and some advertising and marketing.
The two community meetings will give residents an opportunity to learn more about the proposed Sheridan Road SSA. Alderman O’Connor and I are very interested in hearing your views on this proposal, as the SSA must receive City Council approval.
I urge you to attend the meeting to offer your opinions of the proposal. If you are unable to attend, please feel free to reply to this e-mail with your thoughts and suggestions.