Howard Street Special Service Area #19 

SSA #19 Renewal 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


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 will feature 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 on or before June 12, 2020, 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 (February)
  • Phase 2: Funding and Visioning (March)
  • Phase 3: Needs Assessment and Metrics (March)
  • Phase 4: SSA District Plan (March-April)
  • Phase 5: Outreach (March – November)
  • Phase 6: Application and Adoption (June-December)

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!

How does the SSA fund services? SSA services are funded from revenues collected from taxes levied or imposed upon properties within the SSA boundary. These funds are controlled locally, must stay in the community, and must be spent on services that achieve the mission of the Howard Street SSA.

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.

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
  • Simone Freeman (Treasurer) – Business owner; Sol Cafe
  • 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.


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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

News + Outreach

The SSA #19 Renewal Process is just getting started! Check back here for news and updates on outreach and engagement.


Advisory Meetings

  • March: Thurs, 5 at 9 a.m. Willye B. White Park, 1610 W. Howard St.
  • April: Wed, 15 at 8:30 a.m. This meeting will be held virtually.
    Google Hangout Meet: | Call-in:  ‪+1 614-845-2398‬ (PIN: ‪176 357 482‬#)

Howard Street SSA Input Brochure

We need your input. Click on the image below and learn more about the community overview and tell us your thoughts/comments on the SSA services.


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. 

2020 Advisory Agendas 2020 Advisory Minutes
March 5 March 5
April 15   

Existing SSA #19 Map
Proposed SSA #19 Map

Howard Street SSA Input Brochure

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