What is an SSA?
Special Service Areas (SSAs) are an economic development tool that brings businesses and local organizations together to collectively decide how tax dollars can be spent locally to maintain and promote a shared business district. Today’s retail environment is challenging. Now more than ever, business owners understand the need to have a strategic and collaborative effort to identity common priorities and coordinate efforts. An SSA can fund these goals.
What types of services do SSAs provide?
SSAs provide a wide variety of services within their individual boundaries. Common service categories and programs include but are not limited to:
- Business Marketing
- Trainings + Workshops
- Vacancy Reduction
- Small Business Rebates
- Safety Enhancements
- Security Camera Rebates
- Public Art + Murals
- Holiday Lighting + Decor
- Community Grants
- Corridor + Plaza Maintenance
- Trash Clean-Up / Recycling
- Sidewalk Snow Removal
- Landscaping + Tree Plantings
- Planters + Hanging Baskets
- Street Pole Banners / Signage
- Cultural Events
- Food + Music Festivals
- Community Programming
The City of Chicago has over 50 active SSAs. The photo gallery below highlights real examples of how SSAs in Rogers Park have applied funds to support their needs.
How do SSAs determine which services to provide?
The types of services SSAs choose to provide is up to their SSA Commission. Why? The needs of business districts vary and this allows the local folks who know their neighborhood best — i.e. businesses, property owners, and residents — the ability to decide how to channel their funds.
What are the challenges facing SSA #24 in Rogers Park?
The Rogers Park Business Alliance (RPBA), along with many long-standing organizations and dedicated volunteers, serve as advocates for the neighborhood and local businesses. However, the online retail marketplace is an ever-present competitor of small, local businesses. There is an increasing need for marketing and business improvement assistance to support small shops. SSA #24 has many long-time vacant storefronts. In order to entice new businesses and new customers to the Clark, Morse and Glenwood corridors in Rogers Park, the SSA provides the means to make the area attractive, well-maintained, and support local entrepreneurs.