CHICAGO — Applications are open for entrepreneurs to get critical funding to plan, build or upgrade their businesses as part of a $1.2 billion city program.
The Chicago Recovery Plan Community Development Grant program will offer small grants up to $250,000 and large grants up to $5 million. Business owners can apply online. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, with a first-round deadline on Jan. 31 and a second-round deadline March 10.
The city’s planning department will host an informational webinar at noon Thursday. To register, click here.
The grants can be used for commercial, mixed-use and industrial developments to fund building costs, including pre-development, construction and renovations. Eligible projects could include storefront upgrades and mixed-use developments with dining, retail or entertainment components. City funds can cover up to 75 percent of total anticipated costs of the project.
Businesses in historically disinvested neighborhoods will be prioritized for the grants in an effort to ensure the city’s recovery equitably benefits Black and Latino neighborhoods.
“By investing in neighborhoods, the grants will bring new businesses and entertainment options to Chicago’s commercial corridors, help existing businesses stabilize or grow, and preserve or create hundreds of jobs,” Maurice Cox, commissioner of the city’s planning department, said in a statement.
City officials anticipate the grants will boost neighborhood economies by bringing new goods and services to historically under-invested areas, as well as temporary construction jobs and permanent positions. The funds are also expected to build upon the momentum of large city investments in Black and Latino communities, such as the developments ushered in by the INVEST South/West initiative in neighborhoods including North Lawndale, Austin and South Shore.
“Community development is essential for creating thriving and safe communities on our road to an equitable economic recovery,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. “These grants will provide much-needed support to existing and new businesses, spurring economic activity across our city in tandem with our continued investments.”
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