Senator Feigenholtz presents Senate Bill 3679.

Chicago could soon benefit from Business Improvement Districts, thanks to Feigenholtz

To give downtown Chicago business owners a concrete path to address the needs of their communities and generate revenue that can be used to revitalize business corridors across the city, State Senator Sara Feigenholtz advanced legislation that would allow for the creation of Business Improvement Districts.

“After three years of work, we are giving Magnificent Mile business owners the freedom to chart their own path on a downtown revitalization plan,” said Feigenholtz (D-Chicago). “Through Business Improvement Districts, our vibrant city centers will have the flexibility and authority to direct their own spending, development and revival.”

Senate Bill 3679 would set the foundation for Chicago businesses to form a Business Improvement District – or BID – and collectively fund improvement projects. Business owners would have direct oversight on how the funds are utilized for projects within the district. BIDs only apply to commercial properties, meaning homeowners and residential properties would not pay any additional fees.

Under Feigenholtz’s measure, a BID’s governing board can adjust how the BID is designed to ensure each business shares burdens and benefits equitably. Projects funded by BIDs can include crime reduction, community beautification, job creation and more — all of which will attract new businesses and customers and fill empty retail space.

“Businesses along Michigan Avenue want this tool in their toolbox – and because of the self-funded nature of the districts, it doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime,” Feigenholtz added. “Giving our retailers the freedom to self-govern their local districts will improve the economy of tourism and retail downtown.”

Senate Bill 3679 passed the Senate unanimously on Wednesday and now moves to the House.