Recent meetings in the north side neighborhood of Jefferson Park have been debating the merits of creating a special service area for the intention of economically revitalizing the neighborhood's otherwise sleepy business core, Nadig Newspapers reports. The Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce's proposal for the special service area—which would run along Milwaukee Avenue from the Kennedy Expressway to Montrose Avenue, and along Lawrence Avenue from the Kennedy to Mason Avenue—is to generate an annual revenue of at least $200,000, which would then be used for local beautification and business development in the neighborhood. A total of 747 properties are included in the proposed area, 501 of which are residential—though only five of those residences are single-family homes. Average condo owners could pay around $162 per year in taxes, and the single-family homeowners could pay closer to $300, while the average expectation for commercial property owners will be around $1,100.
The current state law for special service areas requires them to be contiguous—that all properties in the proposed areas also be affected by special service area tax requirements. Some municipalities interpret this to leave out residential units that would be affected, but not so for Chicago, which is why neighborhood responses to the proposed area have thus far been mixed. The Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association, which has spoken in defense of the residential properties included in the area, is pushing for the city to re-evaluate its interpretation of the special service area. Nonetheless, if approved, a commission of local property owners would be appointed by Mayor Emanuel and will be charged with setting a yearly budget and tax rate for the area, which the chamber of commerce would administer. Further, the approval of the special service area would have the potential to interact with and benefit from a connection to a recently proposed rails-to-trails project for the Weber Spur, which would provide a reliable alternative transit connection between downtown Chicago and its far northwest side neighborhoods, with Jefferson Park standing as a focal point.
·SSA community meeting presentation now available [Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce]
·Meeting held on proposed special service area [Nadig Newspapers]
·The northwest side might be getting its own 606 Trail [Curbed Chicago]