What is a Special Service Area?
Special Service Areas (SSA), known as Business Improvement Districts or BIDs in other cities, are local tax districts that fund expanded services and programs through a localized property tax levy within contiguous areas. The enhanced services and programs are in addition to those currently provided through the City.
SSA-funded projects typically include but are not limited to: public way maintenance and beautification; district marketing and advertising; business retention/attraction, special events and promotional activities; auto and bike transit; security; façade improvements; and other commercial and economic development initiatives.
The City contracts with local non-profits, called Service Providers, to manage SSAs. Mayorally-appointed SSA Commissioners for each SSA district oversee and recommend the annual services, budget and Service Provider Agency to the City. There are currently 53 active SSAs in Chicago, which can be found in neighborhoods such as Lakeview, Wicker Park/Bucktown, Northcenter, Andersonville, Lincoln Park, West Town and the Loop.
What does the Lincoln Square Special Service Area provide?
The Special Service Area (SSA) of Lincoln Square is an additional property tax levy on properties located along the commercial corridors of the community. These commercial corridors include portions of Western, Lincoln, Lawrence, and Montrose Avenues (see map below). The Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce is the sole service provider of the SSA and manages services along these corridors that are in addition to City of Chicago services. Services include sidewalk litter removal, trash receptacle servicing, landscaping, snow removal, and customer attraction programs. A volunteer Commission of SSA taxpayers oversees the funding of such services and meetings are open to the public.
In 2014 the Lincoln Square SSA collected 1,115 bags of trash through sidewalk litter removal twice a week, planted 106 planters three times a year, shoveled 80 crosswalk corners, decorated 175 street poles for the holidays, and conducted 2 buy local campaigns to promote commerce in the local community that generated over $98,000 (recorded through collection of shopping receipts).
Why is there a need to reconstitute?
A reconstitution includes the addition of new PINs in the existing SSA boundaries. These additional PINs represent new investment that has occurred since the initial SSA was created and/or corrects for an inaccurate existing boundary. With the tremendous growth that has occurred in Lincoln Square over the last decade the demand for local services has increased and the SSA must reconstitute to continue these services.
With this reconstitution, the Lincoln Square SSA not only hopes to continue providing essential clean-and-greening services to our community in an efficient and cost-effective manner, but to extend the boundaries of our SSA to ensure that our residents and business owners west of Western Avenue experience some of those same benefits. Additionally, with the reconstitution, we are investigating new opportunities for continuing to develop Lincoln Square into an appealing community space for residents to enjoy and to help attract more visitors to local businesses.
How can I learn more?
Join us to discuss the proposed reconstitution of the Lincoln Square SSA at one of the following public meetings: