Aldermen and Cook County Commissioners will soon make decisions to commit taxpayer funds and public land in the Illinois Medical District without any accountability from the developers to benefit Westside residents.
Economic development has the potential to strengthen our local communities, but the current system just benefits developers. Crucial issues, such as creating good jobs and housing, are not being considered before a project is approved, while nearby residents have little opportunity for input.
Westside residents are working to make sure that both the new Gateway Development Project and Cook County Hospital Redevelopment provide good jobs and housing through a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) that will keep developers accountable.
A CBA is a legally enforceable contract, signed by community groups and a developer, outlining specific community benefits from a major development project. A CBA would ensure that our elected officials allocate taxpayer dollars to development projects that produce tangible benefits to the local community.
Our Westside Community Benefits Coalition grew out of listening to residents from the West Side, who all said the same thing: we need good jobs. The Illinois Medical District generates about $3.5 billion in economic activity every year, but it is next to neighborhoods with some of the the highest unemployment rates in the country. We need to make sure that the hundreds of millions of dollars invested in these developments help the people who live on the West Side.
The following elected officials have been invited to attend: Alderman Walter Burnett, Alderman Jason Ervin, Alderman Emma Mitts, Alderman Michael Scott, Alderman Chris Taliaferro, and Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele.