CHICAGO — The Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Special Service Area 27 (SSA 27) and Friends of Lakeview, announced a seven-to-ten-year “master plan” aimed at expanding community engagement, and aiding business development.
The plan sets forward a series of recommendations based on the findings of online surveys and community engagement events conducted over a 10-month span.
Five actionable recommendations are outlined in the plan, which includes (1) developing distinct and unique sub neighborhoods, (2) further connecting neighborhoods, (3) enhancing neighborhood vibrancy, (4) creating places for people to socialize, and (5) further activating the Chicago River as an accessible asset for residents and visitors.
Those behind the plan intend to organize the larger community of Lakeview and Roscoe Village into six smaller sub-neighborhoods that allow residents the opportunity to personally identify with their own community’s sense of place, putting an emphasis on instilling individual ownership, stewardship and pride within each individual neighborhood.
On top of developing six sub-neighborhoods, the plan also intends to focus on connectivity strategies between them that emphasize making it easier for residents to get back and forth.
Among top objectives in this recommendation is prioritizing safe walkability, with a focus on streets and corridors that see high pedestrian traffic. Plan partners intend to achieve this through enhanced pedestrian amenities like safe crossings and additional greenway connectors in the area.
Organizers describe greenway connectors as being supplemental urban open spaces that promote social interaction, relaxation, and creative wayfinding.
Bicycle infrastructure expansion is also among top objectives for improving the connectivity among sub-neighborhoods. According to organizers, partnership with the Chicago Department of Transportation’s planned improvements, while identifying additional opportunities for a comprehensive bike network within the neighborhoods are both a part of the strategy here.
When it comes to enhancing neighborhood vibrancy — recommendation no. 3 — stakeholders plan to develop Lakeview Center as an “iconic intersection,” where enhancements will be focused around creative brand strategies, wayfinding elements, dynamic signage, billboards and lighting.
Wayfinding elements include finding artistic partnerships to creatively guide people from one place to the next, while incorporating neighborhood identifiers that allow residents and visitors an easier ability to know where they’re at, while also feeling a stronger connection to the sub-neighborhood they are in.
Creation of places for people to come together in an urban environment is the center point of the plan’s fourth recommendation. With space being limited in an urban environment, organizers said having more places for the community to connect and socialize helps promote a greater sense of personal and collective health and well-being.
Plan stakeholders intend to accomplish this through two strategies — implementing the concept of an “allery,” aka the merging of art galleries with urban alleys to transform under-utilized space into artistic hubs, and leveraging intersections within residential areas into becoming greenway connectors.
The plan’s fifth recommendation sets forth a goal to reimagine the Chicago Riverfront through creating valuable amenities, while fostering economic, cultural and geographical growth.
Organizers said they plan to work on existing riverfront trail sections, specifically the Riverview Bridge and the Lathrop redevelopment project, to create a seamless recreational trail network along the Chicago River.
The recommendations in the Lakeview Roscoe Village Master Plan were based around three themes — The public realm, events and programming, and branding and identity.
Key findings from a survey conducted from Dec. 2022 to Feb. 2023 ahead of the plan’s finalization showed a number of key details that local area residents and businesses are looking for in the area’s future development:
- 71% of residents expressed a preference for walking as their primary mode of transit within the neighborhoods.
- 88% of business owners highlighted the significance of commercial corridor sidewalks, affirming their crucial support for business operations.
- Shopping and dining emerged as the top activities enticing residents to navigate between neighborhood sub-districts.
- Residents and business owners ranked Public Safety as the utmost consideration when moving between neighborhoods.
- A majority indicated active storefronts, safer crossings, and wider sidewalks would make the neighborhoods feel more welcoming.
Funding and Implementation
The Lakeview Roscoe Village Master Plan, in its current state, does not offer a specific timeline of when and how long it will take to implement each recommendation, but it does set forth a series of mechanisms intended to fund each project as they are put forward.
There are five sources functioning as funding mechanisms in the plan, according to organizers. Budget allocation from the Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce, SSA 27 and Friends of Lakeview are three listed sources, while additional funding will also come from city, state and federal grants, and Tax Increment Financing (TIF).
Organizers said final budgeting and funding will be specific to each project executed as a part of the plan. More information on the Master plan can be found on the Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce’s website.