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Retail Thrive Zones exist in eight communities across the city including, South Shore, Chatham, Englewood, and West Pullman and applications are available now

1/9/2019, noon | Updated on 1/9/2019, noon
“This is a win-win for the community. It’s a win for the businesses that need additional resources just to get ...
Alderman Michelle Harris (8th Ward)

The Time To Apply For A Retail Thrive Zone Grant Is Now

By Katherine Newman

An information session regarding the South Shore and West Pullman Retail Thrive Zones application process will be held on Jan. 14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sheldon Heights Church of Christ, 11325 S. Halsted St. The event will be hosted by Ald. Michelle Harris (8th Ward), Ald. Carrie Austin (34th Ward), Ald. Greg Mitchell (7th Ward), and the Far South Community Development Corporation.

During the information session, details about the Retail Thrive Zones and application process will be presented from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and following that, City Officials from the Departments of Buildings, Business Affairs, and Public Health will be available until 1 p.m. to answer questions relating to start-ups, licensing, permitting, food safety, and other relevant topics.

The Retail Thrive Zones Initiative was started by the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, and uses the city’s Small Business Improvement Fund to support small businesses that are located in eight neighborhood commercial corridors on the City’s South, Southwest, and West sides where economic challenges are the most prevalent.

Through the Retail Thrive Zones Initiative, small business owners and property owners that lease to businesses in the Retail Thrive Zones can receive reimbursement grants of up to $250,000 for commercial projects and to cover the costs of eligible remodeling work.

In general, there are three goals of the Retail Thrive Zones program. The goals are to spark development by providing greater access to capital and financial incentives, rebuild and strengthen commercial corridors by activating underutilized real estate and making infrastructure improvements, and lastly to create community-based wealth and local jobs by supporting existing small business owners and new entrepreneurs, according to the Retail Thrive Zones website.

“This is a win-win for the community. It’s a win for the businesses that need additional resources just to get over the hump and to assist them in bringing their dreams to life and then it’s a win for the community at large because now you have positive corridors and positive spaces that are being brought back to life,” said Eighth Ward Alderman, Michelle Harris.

Retail Thrive Zones exist in eight communities across the city including, South Shore, Chatham, Englewood, and West Pullman and applications are available now.

“Over time, it will revitalize all of the corridors and I’m really thrilled about what it is going to do for the 79th street corridor in terms of changing the complexion of that community,” said Harris. “As we start to revitalize communities by helping people with their dream business by giving them a step up, it really is just wonderful and I’m sitting back in the background just watching all the pieces of the puzzle come together and it’s just amazing for the community and it’s amazing for me to see it at this point in time and it is going to transform our communities.

For more information on the Retail Thrive Zones program and economic development incentives visit thrivezones.com.