What is an SSA?
Special Service Areas (SSAs) are an economic development tool that brings businesses and local organizations 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 and coordinate efforts. An SSA can fund these goals.
What is the process for creating an SSA?
The Logan Square Chamber has created a community outreach process 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. The Chamber 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 establish the SSA. If approved, an ordinance will delineate the 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)
What types of services do SSAs provide?
SSAs provide a wide variety of services within their individual boundaries. Common service categories and programs include but are not limited to:
- Business Marketing
- Trainings + Workshops
- Vacancy Reduction
- Small Business Rebates
- Safety Enhancements
- Security Camera Rebates
- Public Art + Murals
- Holiday Lighting + Decor
- Community Grants
- Corridor + Plaza Maintenance
- Trash Clean-Up / Recycling
- Sidewalk Snow Plowing
- Landscaping + Tree Plantings
- Planters + Hanging Baskets
- Street Pole Banners / Signage
- Cultural Events
- Food + Music Festivals
- Community Programming
The City of Chicago has over 50 active SSAs. The photo gallery below highlights real examples of how other SSAs have applied funds to support their needs.
SSA #19 in Rogers Park created the Howard Street Chicago website to support and market their small business owners, cultural roots, murals and local experiences.
How do SSAs determine which services to provide?
The types of services SSAs choose to provide is up to their Elected Board / SSA Commission. Why? The needs of business districts vary and this allows the local folks who know their neighborhood best — i.e. businesses, property owners, and residents — the ability to decide how to channel their funds.
What are the challenges facing Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square?
The Logan Square Chamber of Commerce, along with many long-standing organizations and dedicated volunteers, serve as advocates for the neighborhood and local businesses. However, resources and staff are limited and needs along Milwaukee Avenue are growing. The online retail marketplace has affected business sales, small shops are getting pushed out due to rising rents, while other areas along Milwaukee Avenue are experiencing vacancies. Maintenance, trash pick-up, and safety / surveillance are also of growing concern.