Howard Street Special Service Area #19 

Show Your Support

Do you own property and are a taxpayer within the SSA? Click here to view the boundary map. If so, we need your support! Please sign and return the form below by email or mail per the instructions on the form. If you are a business owner or resident that rents your space, you can help by asking the property owner/taxpayer of record to sign and submit this form. Thank you in advance as your support is critical to continue the services of Sheridan Road SSA #19.

Virtual Community Meetings

Thanks to everyone who attended our virtual community meetings that were held on June 30th and July 15th. We were able to get some really good feedback. In case you were not able to join us you can view both presentations and minutes below.

SSA #19 Renewal + Expansion Process

RPBA works to cultivate and sustain a thriving economic environment in Rogers Park, and one of the many ways it work towards this goal is by managing our community’s four Special Service Areas (SSAs) – Howard Street #19, Clark/Morse/Glenwood #24, Devon Avenue #43, and Sheridan Road #54. These areas, commonly called Business Improvement Districts or BIDs in other cities, are local tax districts that use their funds to expand services and programs in business districts throughout the City of Chicago (currently, the City has 52 SSAs). These services are in addition to services provided by the City and do not replace, but add to, city services. SSA #19 has been serving Howard Street businesses since 1997 and needs to go through a formal renewal process to continue operating in 2021. RPBA is leading an extensive outreach and engagement process to learn from local businesses about what services they want to continue seeing from the SSA, what can be improved upon, and what ideas they have for new Howard Street initiatives.

SSA #19 Map – Proposed Renewal Boundaries

FAQs

What is an SSA? A Special Service Area is a local district that uses its funds to expand services and programs in local business districts. SSA #19 is approaching expiration of its second term and needs to go through a reconstitution process to continue operating for the next 15 years. The SSA is governed by a Commission of volunteers made up of local businesses, property owners and a resident. The SSA is managed by Rogers Park Business Alliance (RPBA) which is leading an extensive outreach effort to determine priorities of local businesses, residents and area property owners to set the priorities of the SSA. Please explore this website and questions below for more information about the reconstitution process, including the map for a proposed addition to the boundary to include the Jarvis Square area.

Why should we renew SSA #19 now? If no action is taken, the SSA will expire at the end of 2021 and cease providing critical services such as arts and cultural events, small business rebates, local marketing, litter removal and corridor maintenance, and landscaping. Of course, small businesses are facing incredible challenges as a result of COVID-19 and the racial injustices facing this country and our community. RPBA has been working directly with the Rogers Park business community to understand these needs and respond quickly. SSA #19 recently established two different COVID-relief programs in response: one provides rebates to help businesses shift to e-commerce and the other reimburses partial expenses related to health and sanitation. In the near-term – while COVID 19 is impacting our community – SSA #19 can be an advocate for local businesses and a source of financial support and assistance in identifying grants and loans. Over the long-term, the SSA will be equally important as we emerge from these crises.

How can you help? You can help by participating in the reconstitution process, engaging with the SSA via its website and social media, offering ideas for improvement of the district and identifying what services you think the SSA should prioritize, and participating in the community meetings. The City also requires 20% of taxpayers to share their support for reconstitution by signing a form. If you are in support of continued services and don’t want to see SSA services cease, we ask you to join this effort by submitting this signed form listing each PIN number you own in the district – click here to view / download form. If you are a business owner or resident that rents your space, you can also help by asking the property owner/taxpayer of record to sign and submit this form.

What will the SSA renewal process look like? RPBA has created a community outreach process for SSA renewal that goes above and beyond what is required in state legislation. The process features several engagement events, including: coffee chats with local business leaders, a survey of local business needs, and community-wide meetings. We want to hear from you outside of these events, too—so please reach out!  Property owners within the proposed SSA boundary will be notified about community meetings via mail. RPBA will submit a formal application to the City, after which another mailing will notify property owners of a public hearing to occur in October 2020. City Council will vote in October on whether to renew the SSA. If approved, an ordinance will delineate the renewed boundary and set a tax rate for the SSA.

  • Phase 1: Start-up and Feasibility
  • Phase 2: Funding and Visioning
  • Phase 3: Needs Assessment and Metrics
  • Phase 4: SSA District Plan 
  • Phase 5: Outreach 
  • Phase 6: Application and Adoption 

How does the SSA fund services? SSA #19 is funded through revenue collected from taxes levied upon properties within the SSA boundary. These funds, which are controlled locally by the SSA #19 Commission, must stay in the district and must be spent on services that achieve the mission of SSA #19. SSA #19 takes fiscal responsibility very seriously. Over the past several years, it has set the annual levy lower than the maximum tax rate cap that was established at the founding of the SSA. The Commission and SSA Reconstitution Advisory Committee have recommended no change to the tax rate cap of 0.833% over the course of the SSA.  This would mean the cost would not exceed $833 annually for each $100,000 of Equalized Assessed Value (EAV).

Why do we need an SSA? An SSA is an economic development tool that brings businesses together to collectively decide how tax dollars can be spent locally to maintain and promote a shared business district. Today’s retail environment is challenging. Now more than ever, business owners understand the need to have a strategic and collaborative effort to identity common priorities, coordinate marketing efforts, and work with the larger Rogers Park community. An SSA can fund these goals and help local businesses stay competitive, attractive, and desirable for residents and customers alike.

Howard Street Stories Click here to learn more about some of the fabulous businesses that are part of the Howard Street SSA. When you shop local, you are also supporting the SSA, allowing it to continue providing services and programs for local businesses!

What services are funded through the SSA? SSA-funded projects include: Advertising and Promotion, Business Improvement Program (BIP), Business Outreach, Public Way Aesthetics, Public Way Maintenance, Tenant Retention and Attraction, and Safety. Click the SSA Services tabs above to learn more!

Who governs the SSA? The City contracts with local nonprofits, called Service Providers, to manage SSAs. RPBA is the service provider for the Howard Street SSA, responsible for coordinating services, generating program reports, and recruiting SSA commissioners. Commissioners are appointed by the Mayor and determine the budget, workplan and sole service provider each year. Current SSA #19 Commissioners are:

  • Carrie Sullivan (Chair) – Business owner; The Factory Theater
  • Charlotte Walters (Vice-Chair) – Property and business owner; Lost Eras
  • Gale Howard (Secretary) – Resident

Who sets the budget for the SSA? The Howard Street SSA #19 Commission manages and approves the budget. Revenue is collected by Cook County as part of the regular property tax collection process.

What are the boundaries of the SSA? Howard Street SSA #19 currently includes Howard Street from Ridge Avenue to Sheridan Road, Paulina Avenue from Rogers Avenue to Jonquil Avenue and Rogers Avenue from Greenview Avenue to Ashland Avenue and the Gateway Centre. Businesses have asked RPBA to consider expanding to include Jarvis Square when it renews, as shown on the proposed boundary map.

 

Project Outreach

Virtual Community Meetings

Thanks to everyone who attended our virtual community meetings that were held on June 30th and July 15th. We were able to get some really good feedback. In case you were not able to join us you can view both presentations and minutes below.

Needs Assessment Survey

Many thanks to everyone who has already responded to the RPBA SSA #19 Needs Assessment Survey! The survey has been re-opened to collect additional input surrounding our virtual community meetings. Click the survey button below to let us know what you love about the Howard Street area and would like to see in the future. Congratulations to Alea H., who participated in our survey and won an RPBA SSA #19 Gift Card!

Advisory Meetings

Below is a list of past Advisory Meetings; visit the Docs tab to view summaries and agendas.

  • March: Thurs, 5 at 9 a.m. Willye B. White Park, 1610 W. Howard St.
  • April: Wed, 15 at 8:30 a.m. Meeting held virtually.
    Google: meet.google.com/vgb-eqak-wir | Call-in:  ‪+1 614-845-2398‬ PIN: ‪176 357 482‬#
  • May: Wed, 13 at 8:30 a.m. Meeting held virtually.
    Zoom: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/76268129213 | Meeting ID: 762 6812 9213

Howard Street SSA Input Brochure

Click here or image below to learn more and tell us your thoughts/comments on the SSA services.

Documents + Resources

As SSA #19 Renewal documents become available, they will be posted here. To view past SSA #19 documents (such as meeting minutes, audits, and applications) click here. 

Show Your Support! Do you own property and are a taxpayer within the SSA? Click here to view the boundary map. If so, we need your support! Please sign and return the form below by email or mail per the instructions on the form. If you are a business owner or resident that rents your space, you can help by asking the property owner/taxpayer of record to sign and submit this form. Thank you in advance as your support is critical to continue the services of Sheridan Road SSA #54.

2020 Advisory Meetings Agendas & Presentations 2020 Advisory Meetings Minutes
March 5 Agenda
April 15 Agenda  |  Presentation
May 13 Agenda  |  Presentation
March 5 Minutes
April 15 Minutes
May 13 Minutes
2020 Community Meetings Presentations 2020 Community Meetings Minutes
June 30 Presentation 
July 15 Presentation
June 30 Minutes
July 15 Minutes

Project Documents + Resources

SSA #19 Services

SSA-funded programs and services include but are not limited to: Advertising and Promotion, Business Improvement Program (BIP), Business Outreach, Public Way Aesthetics, Public Way Maintenance, Tenant Retention and Attraction, and Safety. Scroll down to view images celebrating some of SSA #19’s work and to learn more about each service!

 

  • Advertising and Promotions: We develop promotions, campaigns and business retention and attraction materials.
  • Business Improvement Program (BIP): We promote and revitalize the commercial buildings within the SSA by providing financial and technical assistance to owners and tenants who wish to improve their storefronts. Through this program, owners and tenants are eligible for a 50% rebate up to $5,000 on improvements made to their façade. Download application at here.
  • Comercio en Línea y Mercadotecnia Digital – Programa de Rembolso: Fue creado como respuesta de emergencia al COVID-19 para aisistir a los negocios locales que inviertan en mercadotecnia digital y en estrategias en redes sociales. Puede leer la guía y aplicar aquí.
  • E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Rebate Program: Was developed in response to the COVID-19 emergency, with a goal of supporting local businesses expenditures for digital marketing and social media strategies. Download guidelines and application here.
  • Health and Sanitation Rebate Program: Was developed in response to the COVID-19 emergency, with a goal of supporting local businesses facing increased costs for sanitation supplies and takeout packaging by providing a rebate. Download guidelines and application here.
  • Outreach: We visit businesses within the SSA to provide technical assistance and ensure that business owners are aware of all the programs, services and resources available to them.
  • Public Way Aesthetics and Maintenance: We mulch, weed and plant seasonal plantings. In addition, we install holiday lights and decorations, maintain street pole banners and purchase streetscape elements, as needed. We also run a Mural Art Initiative Program and install public art along Howard St.
  • Public Way Maintenance: We regularly conduct field checks of the public way and maintain the trash cans and planters.
  • Salud e Higiene – Programa de Rembolso: Fue creado como respuesta de emergencia al COVID-19 para aisistir a los negocios locales que enfrentan crecientes costos por material sanitario y paquetería por la nueva forma de venta de comida. Puede leer la guía y aplicar aquí.
  • Tenant Retention and Attraction: We hold business attraction workshops and give presentations to recruit new businesses to the commercial corridors and support current businesses. We also provide technical assistance to businesses and property owners including on-site visits.
  • Safety: We maintain several security cameras in strategic locations throughout the corridor.

Let’s Connect

Interested in learning more about the renewal process? Great! Please connect with us here.

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Rogers Park Business Alliance
1448 W. Morse Ave.
Chicago, IL 60626
Phone: 773.508.5885
Fax: 773.508.9488
Email: info@rpba.org