Tag: infrastructure

Watch the State of Development along the North Branch

On February 18th, North Branch Works brought together developers and real estate brokers for a roundtable discussion about the future of development in our service area along the North Branch.

If you missed the State of Development along the North Branch, you can watch it here. And the power point presentation can be viewed here.

Infrastructure and transportation upgrades for new and existing businesses and the need to support the existing mixed-use environment emerged as major themes during the panel discussion.

Several specific infrastructure projects were discussed including the coming reconstruction of the Division Street Bridge, reinstating CTA Bus service on Elston and Clybourn Avenues, and plans to build a transitway connecting the Central Business District and the North Branch.

Panelists also emphasized the importance of the area continuing to attract new businesses while supporting existing ones to sustain the area as a great place to work and do business.

North Branch Works will continue to fight for our member businesses including industrial businesses, provide timely updates about the development projects featured in the webinar, and push for these crucial infrastructure upgrades.

If you haven’t already, it’s a great time to join North Branch Works as a member. We’ll connect you to grants, information about low-interest business loans, and companies in our network for business-to-business opportunities.

We can also provide customized support for businesses and nonprofits.

To join and with questions, please contact Steve Simmons, Director of Business and Economic Development, 773-929-5552 x2226, steve@northbranchworks.org

A reflection from NBW Executive Director Jonathan Snyder

As this year is winding to a close, I want to thank all of members and partners who worked with us to overcome the numerous challenges we faced this year.  Like you, I had high hopes for a year of growth with businesses creating new job opportunities in a strong economy.  Our expectations quickly turned to disappointments as the biggest public health crisis in over 100 years tore through our country.  Our hearts go out to everyone who has suffered the loss of family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.  The disruption caused by the pandemic will reverberate for years to come.

While we came together to address this one in a lifetime pandemic, the death of George Floyd and countless others laid bare the deep divisions that persist in this country.  Numerous people came together, including many business owners in the North Branch, to peacefully protest the horrific racism that continues, and then we tragically witnessed people take advantage of peaceful protests leading to substantial destruction throughout our communities.  We join with others to condemn racism and the politics of divisiveness.

Despite the challenges we have faced, I remain hopeful for a brighter 2021.  New businesses continue to open, and we will work with them to overcome barriers, attract capital, and create jobs.  We will work with our partners in the City, lenders, and community groups to make sure that existing businesses can continue to protect their staff and serve their customers.  We will advocate for infrastructure resources, grants, and policies that enable our communities to thrive.  We will continue to support the creation of high-quality, family-sustaining jobs in the manufacturing and industrial sectors, while also supporting small businesses to open and grow.  The North Branch is a great area in which to have a business, and we urge you to join us as a member so that we can continue to build a better Chicago.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and our staff, I wish you Happy Holidays and a safe, healthy, and prosperous new year!

Goose Island Summit highlights need for infrastructure upgrades

In carrying out its valuable role as a planned manufacturing district, Goose Island makes a major contribution to the well-being of Chicago’s economy.

A manmade island with a rich industrial legacy, Goose Island is approximately 160 acres and runs in the Chicago River from Chicago Avenue to North Avenue.

To ensure Goose Island remains a vibrant place to work and do business, North Branch Works recently convened the 2nd Annual Goose Island Summit, bringing together nearly forty businesses with city leaders, including 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Samir Mayekar, along with representatives from DPD, CDOT, and CTA, to identify top priorities and action steps.

Although the one-hour dialogue covered many topics, businesses consistently identified the urgent need for infrastructure upgrades that create safe access to and from Goose Island as well as the immediate surrounding neighborhood areas.

Participants heard updates from ongoing and future planned projects such as:

  • The removal of train tracks on Cherry St. between North Branch Street and the dead end at the north end of the island
  • The replacement of the Division Street Bridge, a vital connector for goods and services across the island, and installation of a new stop sign.
  • The ridership levels that would be required for the Chicago Transit Authority to resume the CTA #132 Goose Island Express Bus.

With new companies expected to move to Goose Island, there’ll be tremendous demand for alternative modes of transportation such as walking and biking and fast and reliable bus service.

And we know investments in infrastructure will return tremendous economic development benefits, especially on Goose Island, which is home to major companies and family-owned businesses including Mars Wrigley, Waste Management, MxD, FedEx, Amazon, Calihan Catering, and Gold Coast Auto Body.

And by attracting and retaining industrial businesses, Goose Island ensures that high-quality jobs with family-sustaining wages that require only middle skills are available to all Chicagoans.

As a significant part of our service area, North Branch Works is dedicated to serving and advocating for the business community on Goose Island so it can continue to offer high-quality jobs and serve as a major contributor to healthy neighborhoods.

With questions and to get involved in moving this work forward, please contact Steve Simmons, Director of Business and Economic Development, 773-929-5552 x2226, steve@northbranchworks.org

Image credit: Port Urbanism