Timeline of Blocks Together’s Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Reform Campaign
2008 – BT’s Housing Committee began participatory action research around school closures and the intersection with Tax Increment Financing dollars. From here the Housing Committee created a long term agenda to bring more transparency and direct benefit from the local TIF and organized the first town hall meeting around the Chicago Central Park TIF.
2009 – BT members worked on a campaign to use Chicago Central Park TIF funds to bring an affordable housing development into the community with a community developer.
2010 – BT and Westside United members created a Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) for the project but the developer refused to sign. From here BT and Westside United members wanted to require CBA’s with public funds used in the community.
2011 – The Chicago Central Park TIF was underestimated and residents worked with the City’s Department of Planning to reallocate funds into community informed budget line items such as increasing funds for job training and daycare services.
2013 – BT staff and members work with the Participatory Budget (PB) project and University of Illinois at Chicago Great Cities Institute to learn how to use PB in the community. Members also visited other wards in Chicago and other organizations throughout the country.
2014 – Alderman Walter Burnett commits to using the $2 million in TIF funds from the canceled development to the PB process!
July 1st BT along with Alderman Burnett, other city representatives and community residents had a successful and informative Town Hall Meeting.
During the month of July community residents attended 3 meetings at Blocks Together which ended in breakout sessions to establish criteria to fit the needs of the following committees:
Affordable Housing, Job Training, Public Works and Small Business
On August 14th community residents and business owners met for the People Budget Meeting where representatives from Blocks Together and Westside United explained the Peoples Budget Initiative, Project Application, and the submission and selection process. Questions were answered and residents with projects ideas were strongly encouraged to apply and become involved with the committees.