About Special Service Areas

What’s a Special Service Area?

For more than 28 years, the Special Service Area (SSA) program has provided communities with the financial means to create, maintain and manage clean, attractive and competitive commercial districts. SSAs are local property tax districts that provide funding for enhanced services and programs in neighborhoods across Chicago. These services are in addition to services provided by the City of Chicago and do not replace City services. The City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) contracts with local non-profits, typically chambers of commerce or business associations, as service providers to administer the program. A local Commission, appointed by the Mayor and made up of SSA property owners and tenants, oversees the service provider and determines SSA services and budgets annually. SSA funds are controlled locally, must stay in the community, and must be spent on services that achieve the mission of the particular SSA. Similar SSA programs operate in over 50 areas throughout the City of Chicago—including most retail corridors on the North Side—and have been credited with enhancing neighborhood vitality.

Many locals and visitors assume that services that keep our business districts clean and vibrant are provided by the City of Chicago, when these services are often provided by the local SSA. These services, which include landscaping, sidewalk trash bin servicing, sidewalk snow removal, area branding, and neighborhood identification, are important for maintaining competitive business districts and improving quality of life for everyone.

How is the LPCC involved?

The LPCC is the service provider for both the Clark Street and Lincoln Avenue SSAs. As the service provider for both SSAs, we coordinate SSA services, which may include hiring staff and subcontractors as needed to fulfill the SSA services, as determined by each commission. We generate program reports to the DPD, SSA Commissions, local aldermen and the community. We also assist with the recruitment of SSA commissioners, who determine the SSA budgets and services annually.

For more information on Special Service Areas, visit the City of Chicago’s website.

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