With 2023 approaching, it’s a timely moment to reflect on the major news from the North Branch in 2022.
Here's our list of top ten stories from the North Branch of the Chicago River in 2022:
1. The City of Chicago approved the proposal from Bally’s Corporation for a casino at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street. Our Executive Director, Jonathan Snyder, was appointed to the Community Advisory Council for the casino. North Branch Works (NBW) will continue to advocate for the protection of nearby industrial businesses including Prairie Material and WaterSaver Faucet Company.
2. NBW helped a record number of small businesses apply for grants and to city programs. In March, sixteen businesses applied to the Small Business Improvement Fund in the Addison South TIF District; in September, twelve businesses applied for SBIF grants in the River West TIF District. These reimbursable grants will help businesses make permanent improvements and repairs to their buildings. In addition, we helped two businesses obtain Chicago Recovery Program grants.
3. Logistics Property Company celebrated the ground-breaking of the Midwest’s first two-story modern logistics facility at the southwest corner of Elston Avenue and Division Street near Goose Island. This project will add 1.2 million square feet of industrial space in a LEED Silver certified building. It’s expected that construction will be completed by 2024.
4. Our Small Accessible Repairs for Seniors Program (SARFS) completed the maximum number of jobs possible this year, helping longtime residents age gracefully in their homes. NBW is the highest performing City of Chicago delegate agency, driven by our passionate commitment to keeping neighborhoods affordable. Here’s the inspiring story of the difference that SARFS made in the life of Ms. Little, a resident of Garfield Park.
5. The Salt Shed opened officially on August 2nd with an outdoor concert that brough live jazz music to the North Branch for the first time. Plans for the Salt Shed, which converted a former industrial site into a mix-used office, retail, and entertainment complex, have been underway since 2018.
6. We held many events that promoted the area, including a well-attended Chicago River Day Cleanup (pictured above), and gave people behind-the-scenes tours of our small businesses. These events included a boat tour of the North Branch, a breweries and distillery tour, Bike the North Branch, and Paddle the North Branch. Over two-hundred people participated. Stay tuned for more opportunities to visit our businesses in 2023.
7. Our staff continued our persistent advocacy for manufacturing and industrial firms. We hosted a Manufacturing Summit in March with Manufacturing Renaissance Council. In addition, we joined World Business Chicago for Manufacturing Connect. In November, we partnered with Ministers for Manufacturing and traveled to Springfield to make the case with elected officials for policies that support and promote manufacturing.
8. North Branch Works celebrated our 40th anniversary at MxD. Our program included remarks from Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward) and BACP Commissioner Ken Meyer. We were honored to recognize our founder and first Executive Director, Donna Ducharme, with the inaugural Donna Ducharme Award for Outstanding Service to the North Branch Community.
9. In October, Hyun’s Hapkido & Taekwondo School (2743 N. Western Avenue) won a $25,000 grant from the National Asian American Pacific Islander Chamber of Commerce (National Ace) and Reimagine Main Street. Our staff was honored to help the business owner, Kwang Hyun, with his application.
10. Mayor Lightfoot celebrated Manufacturing Month with a visit to Howe Corporation, a fourth generation, woman-owned manufacturing company that has operated in the North Branch for 110 years.
Thank you to our members, partners, and supporters for a fun, informative, and productive year.