Members of the Southwest Conference of Mayors will host 10 communities at the Business Developers Summit next month in hopes of enticing new businesses, better traffic flow and major improvements to each community.
Most of the communities have property along the Harlem corridor, which extends from 63rd Street to Interstate Highway 80 through 10 communities from Bedford Park to Tinley Park. Communities that don’t have property along Harlem Avenue are still expected to market the best of their municipality.
“We started with a key list of 100 developers and we are asking each individual community to reach out to a developer they may know personally,” Southwest Conference of Mayors Executive Director Vicki Smith said. “We want each community to market their town, if they have a piece of property on Southwest Highway they can market that too, it’s not just for communities with property along the Harlem Avenue corridor.”
For the past several months members of the Southwest Conference of Mayors and community leaders have prepared to showcase the best of their community. Over 1,000 business developers are expected to be contacted and at least 18 have already agreed to attend the Sept. 18 summit at Toyota Park.
“All 10 communities will be at the summit and have an opportunity to market their community to business developers,” said Smith. “We are really excited for the summit, this is something we’ve never tried before and we expect to fill up with 40 to 60 developers.”
Many communities such as Palos Hills and Chicago Ridge have already reached out to marketing firms in Chicago to acquire brochures, posters and other materials that will help to showcase the best of their community.
“This is the first time we are able bring developers into each town to see what each community has to offer a potential developer,” said Palos Hills Mayor and President of the Southwest Conference of Mayors Gerald Bennett. “The summit is an important stage of the planning process and potential projects along the Harlem corridor.”
Since Palos Hills only has a small section of land located along Harlem Avenue city officials are planning on showcasing other areas of the village in hopes of sparking economic development in the community, Bennett said.
The Southwest Conference of Mayors in conjunction with Pace Bus, CTA, IDOT, Metra and RTA conducted studies along the Harlem Avenue corridor to improve transportation and development throughout each of the 10 communities. The 10 communities include, Bedford Park, Bridgeview, Burbank, Chicago Ridge, Oak Lawn, Orland Park, Palos Heights, Palos Hills, Tinley Park and Worth.
Oak Lawn is currently conducting a similar study after receiving a grant from Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. Oak Lawn officials along with CMAP teamed up with Teska Associates Inc. to study 95th Street from Pulaski Road to Harlem Avenue.
“We are hoping to reach out to over a 1,000 developers and this is an excellent opportunity for each community to meet with potential developers and hopefully improve development in their community,” Bennett said.