Chicago officials have announced the launch of the first phase of the city’s $10 million Equitable Transit-Orientated Development grant program. This initiative is aimed to help encourage community-driven development near train stations and high-frequency bus corridors. 

The second phase of the program will be launched in December and plans to provide grants and technical assistance to directly support the type of dense, mixed-use, walkable development enabled by the Connected Communities Ordinance the City Council passed in July. 

During this initial phase however, community groups and other organisations have been encouraged to respond to a request for proposals for city grants which will pay for technical assistance for eTOD projects, which plan to be awarded next year. 

“In order to realize my administration’s vision for an equitable city, we must redress and improve the ways we invest in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a statement. “By putting funding support behind the Connected Communities Ordinance, we are living our values by supporting developments that are accessible to all residents as well as catalytic for their communities. I look forward to seeing the communities’ proposals for more equitable and inclusive development come to reality through this funding.”  

The ETOD grant program is part of a new Department of Planning and Development universal application process for funding under $250,000. The projects hope to improve health and racial equity outcomes and some projects include affordable housing developments. 

“The grants will help community stakeholders to shape their neighborhoods by improving walkability to corner stores, transit options, affordable housing, and other pedestrian-oriented amenities,” said DPD Commissioner Maurice Cox.