President Preckwinkle started her Keynote Address by talking about her career-long commitment to economic development. She was pleased to announce that Cook County is now a serious player when it comes to economic growth in the region. Creating the Bureau of Economic Development and the Council of Economic Advisors were two of her first steps after taking office, looking at economic growth from a regional perspective. Since then, along with the support of many in the room, the Cook County Land Bank Authority was launched in January of this year. They will work hand in hand with the South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority, as the two land banks will share in the recent allocation of $6 Million from the Illinois portion of the National Foreclosure Settlement, negotiated by the Illinois State Attorney General’s Office. $1.5 Million of this award will be designated for the South Suburban Land Bank and Development Authority. The County will also be supporting the land banks with funding to address their demolition needs. Between 2011 to and 2013, $55 Million has been invested in combined Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) and Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds in this sub-region.
Additionally, President Preckwinkle explained the BUILT in Cook Loan Program – BUILT stands for (Broadening Urban Investment to Leverage Transportation) to support lending to spur growth in Cook County. The intent of the $30 million Loan Program is to encourage job creation and retention activities while stabilizing the suburban tax base within the County. The loan guarantee program will help finance transit-oriented development (TOD); cargo-oriented development (COD); mixed-use/service sector projects, along with funding minority and woman-owned business enterprises that are certified with Cook County Government. The program is enabled by a Section 108 Loan Guarantee from HUD that was authorized in 2013. The County is currently working out the details of the program, but the loan guarantee has been authorized. President Preckwinkle concluded her remarks on creating a workforce prepared for today’s jobs and the first anniversary of the Chicago-Cook Workforce Partnership.
Others at the event included:
Steven Washington, Partner, Ice Miller, LLP – Welcome
MarySue Barrett, President, Metropolitan Planning Council – Opening Remarks
Panel of Mayors, Investors and the South Suburban Land Bank, who provided a very interesting and insightful discussion:
Moderator – Andy Geer, Vice President, Enterprise Community Partners
- Mayor Paul Braun (Flossmoor)
- Mayor John A. Ostenburg (Park Forest)
- Peter Holsten (Holsten Development Corporation)
- David Block (The Community Builders)
- Calvin Holmes (Chicago Community Loan Fund)
- Russ Rydin (South Suburban Land Bank)
A question and answer period followed, with closing remarks by Ed Paesel, Executive Director, SSMMA.
The morning concluded with an Open House with Municipalities.