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Note: This Document is a work in progress, and will

become part of an issue paper summarizing the results


The Lawndale Alliance of key meetings and outlining final recommendations.
(Formerly Known as TIF Dwellers) This document was last updated 8/7/07

Key Issues and Recommendations


Presented by the Lawndale Alliance
Contact: Valerie F. Leonard 773-521-3137 valeriefleonard@msn.com

Background
The City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development, in cooperation with 24 th Ward Alderman
Michael D. Chandler, and 22nd Ward Alderman Ricardo Munoz, scheduled a public meeting to discuss the
proposed Ogden Pulaski Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district, on April 23, 2007. The meeting was
cancelled due to a change in leadership in the 24th Ward.

A group of North Lawndale residents, including Joe Ann Bradley, Valerie F. Leonard, Eric Strickland and
Thomas Worthy, provided the initial framework within which to begin to educate other residents on the pros
and cons of TIF districts. The group thought it best to work with existing organizations initially, and to allow
meeting participants to decide the next steps after the 5-week education period was completed.

TIF Dwellers: Living and Doing Business in Tax Increment Financing Districts (TIF’s) was developed to
educate North Lawndale stakeholders on the process of creating TIF districts and to explore the potential
impact upon local homeowners and small businesses.

The Lawndale Business and Local Development Corporation (LBLDC), Community Action Group (CAG)
and Valerie F. Leonard, have partnered to convene a broad cross section of North Lawndale residents and
stakeholders in discussions around the City of Chicago’s proposed plan to establish a tax increment
financing district with approximate boundaries of Grenshaw to the north; Albany to the east; 24th Street to
the South and Kenneth to the west. According to City Officials, this area is 876 acres, and includes 5,900
tax parcels, 3,900 buildings and 8,278 occupied units (households). This author believes that the 5,900
parcels do not include City owned properties, or parcels that are tax-exempt. Assuming an average of 4
persons per household, it is believed that over 30,000 persons could be impacted. Further clarification is
required.

The series drew upon expertise of North Lawndale residents, public officials and lessons learned from other
communities to begin to explore ways in which community stakeholders, community development
organizations, elected officials and Chicago Department of Planning representatives may work together to
create a shared vision for sustainable development in the community.

As a result of the 5-week series, meeting participants have requested that the group continues to meet at
least monthly, and begin to develop a shared community vision for holistic community development in North
Lawndale. As of July 30, there have been 7 general meetings, and 2 committee meetings to discuss the
reinstatement of the Lawndale Community Conservation Council. Meeting participants were surveyed to
get a sense for their respective knowledge of the TIF process and vision for community development in
North Lawndale. The 5-week series also served as a catalyst for the planning of the North Lawndale
Chamber of Commerce.

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This work has also attracted the attention of John Hagedorn, PhD, a tenured professor at the University of
Illinois Great Cities Institute. Members of Dr. Hagedorn’s class on social responsibility are following the
socio-economic changes in North Lawndale, and getting a sense of how those changes are impacting local
residents. Members of the class have begun to attend TIF Dweller’s meetings and assist in gathering data
that will further assist local residents in making informed decisions concerning local development; and to
help frame public policy as it relates to local participation in community development decisions.

The City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development, in cooperation with Alderman Sharon D.
Dixon, and Alderman Ricardo Munoz held a public meeting on July 24, 2007 to present the proposed
Ogden-Pulaski TIF to local residents and other stakeholders. They provided an overview of the TIF
process, the next steps in the approval process and opened the floor to questions from community
residents. Detailed notes from this meeting are being prepared. It is estimated that over 300 people were
in attendance.

Local residents met again on July 30, 2007 to reflect on the outcome of the July 24 th meeting. One of the
key outcomes of this meeting was the creation of the Lawndale Alliance, a group of Lawndale stakeholders
who have come together to improve the social and economic conditions in Lawndale by promoting
increased community participation, education, resident leadership, and holistic community and economic
development. To date, the group consists of approximately 100 members representing block clubs,
individual property owners, local business owners, churches, schools.

The sections that follow are based upon input from meeting participants, survey results and feedback from
the City’s public meeting on the Proposed Ogden-Pulaski TIF.

Core Values

We believe that stakeholders participating in a planning and development process should have the
following attributes.

Mutual Respect
Honesty
Trust
Humility
Sharing
Inclusivity (not a real word)
Empathy
Courage
Forgiveness
Love for family, friends and community

What Matters Most to Us

Family
Children and Youth
Serving Others

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Accessibility to Affordable Health Care, Especially for 0-3 Year Olds
Workable Strategies
Truthfulness
Resident Participation in Civic and Community Activities
Safe Clean Environment
Aesthetic Beauty of the Buildings and Environment
Maintaining the Architectural Character of the Community
Courage to Speak Truth to Power
Availability of Consumer and Social Services
Decent and Affordable Housing for Current Residents
Open, Honest and Effective Communication
Education and Technology
Honoring Our History and Culture
Access to Jobs and Training
Opportunities for Ex-Offenders to Start Fresh
Healthy, Nurturing Environment for Small Resident-Owned Businesses
Accountability from Ourselves, Elected and Public Officials, Mortgage Bankers and Developers
Sharing Resources Fairly
Ability of Local Residents to Benefit from TIF funding and Other Community Development
resources

Issues
1) Lack of accountability, inclusion and transparency in the creation of redevelopment of in the
creation of redevelopment plans in North Lawndale.

2) Forces from outside the community have greater influence over development decisions than local
residents.

3) Lack of opportunity for African Americans from North Lawndale to work as developers, unionized
workers or laborers on construction sites in their own community

4) TIF dollars generated in one community may be used to fund projects in other communities in other
areas of the city, even downtown.

5) Except for some homeowners who qualified for façade improvements under the Greystone
Initiative, most local residents do not benefit directly from TIFs. At the same time, their tax dollars
are being used to subsidize large developments.

6) Need to advocate for policies that create an environment in which local residents and small
business owners may take advantage of the opportunities that the TIF would bring

7) When tax assessments go up, incremental taxes generated within the TIF stay in the local district.
Money that could be used to fund public schools, neighborhood parks, and Cook County Hospital
is being used to promote development.

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8) Need to increase skill level of North Lawndale residents and businesses so they may take
advantage of opportunities in the TIF

9) Need to expand the base of community stakeholders who participate on panels and attend TIF
Dwellers meetings. There are a

10) Need to engage Alderman, City departments and sister agencies in the conversations.

11) Need to develop a more formalized mechanism within which to focus discussions.

12) We are still in a enterprise community- The federal designation for enterprise/empowerment
community has expired. It ran from 1994-2004. There is an enterprise community designated by
the State of Illinois. We need a better map of all TIF districts. Commissioner Quigley said we can
get copies from his office.

What We Need to Make Informed Decisions

More detailed information on the TIF process from the City


Detailed Plans for Eminent Domain
Land Acquisition Maps
Conservation Area Maps and Underlying Acquisition Plans
Detailed Redevelopment Plan
Disclosure of a list of planned developments and sponsoring developers within the
Redevelopment Area
Disclosure of the real estate development plans resulting from the Olympics
Disclosure of the redevelopment budget, including line items, amounts, and proposed
recipients
Housing Impact Study
Detailed Accounting for every TIF in North Lawndale
 Copies of Redevelopment Budgets
 Progress reports towards goals and objectives
 Current Balances
 Disclosure of who received funding and how much
 Disclosure of how much money was exchanged between neighboring TIFs
Full disclosure of the Mayor's, DPD's and CPS' plans for Modern Schools Across Chicago as it
relates to North Lawndale.
Are the TIF dollars earmarked for education intended for charter schools such as North
Lawndale College Prep, Collins Campus, Power House High, Legacy Charter School, etc?
Are sponsors of these charter schools also large land holders who have further plans for
development in North Landale?
How much of the education funding is earmarked for traditional public schools?
How will this TIF impact local school funding? (specific dollar amounts)
Is the City planning on "porting" our local TIF districts revenues to help pay for new school
construction, in or outside of North Lawndale?

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Recommendations
1) Bring City Officials back to the community to provide more detailed information—in a location that
is easily accessible to people with disabilities. This should be done through a series of meetings
and/or a town hall meeting.

2) Create a TIF Advisory Board comprised of local stakeholders. The stakeholders should represent
a broad range of interests, including local business owners, large businesses, institutions,
churches, nonprofit organizations. The membership should also be representative of the
geographic composition of the TIF. For example, if 85% of the land mass is in the 24th Ward, then
85% of the membership should be from the 24 th Ward. The application process should be open
and draw from all areas within the TIF boundaries. The applications should be reviewed by an
impartial panel.

3) Revive the Lawndale Community Conservation Council to coordinate all development activities in
North Lawndale. The stakeholders should represent a broad range of interests, including local
business owners, large businesses, institutions, churches, nonprofit organizations. The
membership should also be representative of the geographic composition of the TIF. Each ward’s
representation on the Council should be based upon its respective land mass. For example, if 70%
of the land mass is in the 24th Ward, then 70% of the membership should be from the 24th Ward.

4) There should be no conflicts of interest on the TIF Advisory Council or the Lawndale Community
Conservation Council. There should be a clear definition and separation of the planning and
advisory roles.

5) The TIF process should be transparent There should be regular communication of progress
towards financial and planning goals for the TIF and Conservation Area. Meeting minutes should
be a matter of public record, and published in publications that are readily accessible to the public.
There should be periodic mailings and newsletters to update the public. Updates should also be
posted on a website.

6) There should be community benefits agreements between large developers and community
residents and other stakeholders to make sure community residents benefit from the new
developments.

7) Provide bond financing and other up front capital to fund projects until they generate sufficient tax
revenues to be self-sustaining.

8) Create a Neighborhood Investment Program (NIF) for home improvements. Leverage these funds
with other City programs and contributions from developers wishing to receive TIF funds or other
incentives.

9) Expand opportunities for housing that is affordable to community residents.

10) Provide resources to help combat mortgage foreclosure.

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11) Develop a comprehensive economic development strategy targeted towards developing local
resident owned businesses. Expand the local Small Business Improvement Fund.

12) Allocate a portion of dollars generated by the proposed Ogden-Pulaski TIF for maintenance and
capital improvements of the local parks within the district. This should not be limited to
improvements to Douglas Park related to Chicago’s bid for the Olympics. We need a commitment
to expand green space considering the Water pool at Douglas Park, and the restoration of Douglas
Park Field House.

13) Use TIF funding to address the Digital Divide. Provide comprehensive technology training for
students, senior citizens and workers who want to improve their skills

14) Create opportunities for ex-offenders re-entering the workforce or who would like to own a
business.

15) Community residents and City officials should work together to identify opportunities for
community-driven development that fits within or builds upon existing plans, such as the New
Communities Plan.

16) Create a TIFWORKS program to create job opportunities created for LOCAL residents. We
recommend that that a minimum of 15% of incremental tax revenue generated by a TIF district be
earmarked to fund job training and placement.

17) We respectfully call upon Cook County Commissioner Robert Steel to call for Cook County hearing
and to appoint a non-delegate agency representative to the Joint Review Board appointed by the
Alderman

18) Utilize TIF dollars to fund local traditional public schools. In North Lawndale, there is a proliferation
of new charter schools. These schools are sponsored by deep pocket corporations, foundations
and investors, and have state of the art technology and curriculum. Most of our traditional schools
are lagging the City in terms of capital improvement, curriculum, resources and performance.

19) Utilize TIF dollars to create a world class regional library and community technology center in
honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.