CHICAGO – Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled an “advisory report” meant to guide the City of Chicago’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic Thursday.
Former White House Chief of Staff Sam Skinner co-chaired the Recovery Task Force which developed the report, working with 150 individuals from government to educators and top business leaders, along with a host of community leaders and activists over the past 10 weeks.
Lightfoot defined the plan as a way to re-envision the city’s future while ending economic hardship, confronting racial inequities and uniting all of the city’s residents.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for us. This is our great Chicago moment,” Lightfoot said. “We’ve got a plan to go forward and now it’s our job to implement it.”
The report is filled with suggestions for boosting Chicago‘s economic recovery as we battle the coronavirus pandemic, from expanding transportation infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities to attracting more television and film productions.
The plan recommends a reorientation of city resources, focusing on black and brown communities which have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis.
“We can’t move forward unless we think holistically of how we heal our region from top to bottom – every neighborhood,” Lightfoot said.
Among their recommendations includes addressing “new and old traumas” by creating the most advanced healing center region in the U.S., with increased access to mental and emotional health resources, as well as a culturally-sensitive, diverse mental health workforce.
The Task Force developed a set of 17 recommendations and four existing initiatives to advance a targeted set of outcomes for Chicago, including:
Outcome #1: Address new and old traumas
- Create the most advanced healing-centered region in the country
- Increase access to mental and emotional health resources and services in communities
- Create a culturally sensitive, diverse mental health workforce
Outcome #2: Expand economic opportunity, quality employment, and financial security
- Reimagine the region’s workforce infrastructure and create a plan to invest in displaced and young workers
- Increase ownership and employment for Black and brown residents in the regions’ contracting and construction industries
- Create the most vibrant small and medium-sized business and Black- and brown-owned business community in America
- Expand relief programs and pilot innovative approaches to improve and strengthen the social safety net
Outcome #3: Build on our region’s strengths
- Expand the region’s transportation, distribution and logistics sector by leveraging new trends in the localization of supply chains
- Strengthen Chicago’s healthcare and life-sciences ecosystem
- Build on the region’s assets in food and agriculture
Outcome #4: Capture opportunities created by COVID-19
- Build on the region’s historic strength in manufacturing
- Prepare the region to capture HQ2s and corporate development and specialty centers
- Capture film and TV production opportunities given the lack of studio space in California
Outcome #5: Reignite activity throughout Chicago by sharing our story
- Introduce Chicago’s master brand
- Lead the re-imagination of regional tourism, travel, and hospitality
- Develop new and existing community hubs to encourage tourism in neighborhoods
- Show the world Chicago is open for business
Outcome #6: Accelerate investments to eliminate inequities
- INVEST South/West
- Solutions Toward Ending Poverty (STEP)
- We Will Chicago / Citywide Plan
- Chicago Connected