The Rogers Park Business Alliance, the City of Chicago and the City of Evanston announced a joint project last week called “One Howard Street” designed to develop new businesses and the broader Howard Street neighborhood over the next several years, according to a March 30 press release.

The three groups received a $100,000 grant from the Research in Illinois to Spur Economic Recovery (RISE) program to launch the initiative. A steering committee with representatives from Rogers Park and Evanston is expected to host community meetings to gather feedback on what residents want to see along Howard, from affordable housing to improved public transit.

The plan itself is scheduled to be complete by September 2023, according to the announcement, with “clear and actionable steps toward equitable economic recovery.” The first opportunity for residents to offer their opinions will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 22 at Willye B. White Park at 1610 W. Howard St.

“This is the first time that Evanston and Rogers Park are working on creating a joint corridor plan,” said Sandi Price, executive director of the Rogers Park Business Alliance. “Howard Street shouldn’t be a boundary, it should be a neighborhood, and has long played an important role in bringing together the economy and culture on Chicago’s Far North Side.”

Howard Street is home to the annual summer Chalk Festival. Credit: Rogers Park Business Alliance

The RISE Program is currently doling out $3.5 million to 42 communities and economic development organizations, and One Howard Street was the only Chicago-area project to receive funding from the statewide enterprise.

Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss described the partnership as an opportunity to “establish a strong vision for the corridor that ensures its long-term resiliency, business growth and vibrancy.”

A number of new business developments are already in the works along Howard, including a potential cannabis dispensary and bakery that is currently projected to open in July. Sales from that location would also boost the city’s reparations fund, which is partially tied to marijuana sales tax revenue.

“For the first time in decades, we will have a strategic plan for the Howard corridor that will include both sides of the street,” said Chicago City Council alderman Maria Hadden, who represents Rogers Park. “Together, our respective communities will work together on issues such as affordable housing, infrastructure improvements and a thriving business environment that will result in a strong and inclusive long-term vision for the Howard Street corridor.”

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...

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  1. Hello Duncan! Thank you for the information on “One Howard Street” I am interested to know what does affordable housing look like in this deal with RISE? People of color are not included in the new developments of the current infrastructure that is taking place in the city, beautiful residents are being built and they are not affordable! It would be nice if the city allotted some funds to middle class families.