Mapped: Here’s where Chicago is awarding 11 grants for equitable TOD projects.

Image: John Greenfield via Google Maps
Image: John Greenfield via Google Maps

Equitable transit-oriented development is an effective strategy for helping low-income and working-class residents access jobs, education, healthcare, shopping, and recreation. And by creating affordable homes near public transportation, it helps prevent the development of transit-friendly land from causing housing displacement.

Last week Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot announced microgrants grants for 11 projects across the city that promote affordability and walkable, people-friendly streets near transit as part of the city’s Equitable Transit-Oriented Development 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 Lightfoot in a statement. “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.”

Along with Elevated Chicago and Enterprise Community Partners, the city is providing $160,000 in microgrants and technical assistance to help out with project construction near transit stations across Chicago. Each winner is getting up to $20,000.

The winner 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,” said Anton Hilton, managing partner of Hilton Group LLC in a statement. “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 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 West Side of Chicago.”

The pilot program was launched as one of the first strategies in Chicago’s first-ever ETOD Policy Plan. Adopted by the Chicago Plan Commission last June, the plan was developed over the previous two years to foster more equitable transit-oriented development citywide. Goals include promoting investment on the South and West sides and preventing displacement and encouraging affordability on the North and Northwest sides.

“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,” said Roberto Requejo, program director of Elevated Chicago. “They are feasible, equitable, aligned with the ETOD Policy Plan and transit-focused. 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.”

The ETOD pilot program kicked off in June. The city received over 25 applications from 20 different community areas across. According to the city, applications were evaluated and scored by a selection committee that focused on feasibility, equity, alignment and transit. The committee included over 12 people from city departments, community organizations, the private sector, charitable foundations, and nonprofits.

“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,” Requejo said. “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.”

“The ETOD pilots are a great demonstration of how communities and cities can work together to leverage our existing transportation assets,” said Chicago Department of Transportation 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.”

According to the city, the planning process that led to today’s selections included reviews of previous TOD policy changes in 2013, 2015, and 2019. It also included a draft ETOD policy report issued last fall that generated over 3,400 online views and hundreds of comments during its 45-days public comment period. The final ETOD plan, a public comment summary report, and more info about the grant winners and the selection committee can be found online at chi.gov/etod.

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