Dueling North Lawndale events draw Pritzker and Emanuel and Lightfoot—separately

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The Will Group, which will operate the facility, known as the K-Town Business Development Centre, received a $500,000 state grant under a program that helps minority-owned startup businesses access capital. The 60,000-square-foot manufacturing and warehousing center at 4647 W. Polk will specialize in making and distributing LED fixtures used on city street lights.

When further phases are completed, the project will involve a total $20 million investment and create about 100 jobs in a neighborhood that certainly can use them, said Stephen David, founder and chairman of the Will Group. “We look forward to increasing opportunities for small businesses and workers alike and setting into motion a well-deserved investment for this community.” 

“This is what success looks like,” declared Lt. Gov. Julianna Stratton, who noted that the vacant property is in an area that never has fully recovered from the riots after the shooting of the Rev. Martin Luther King a half century ago. “This is a facility of dreams.” Dozens of similar grants are now being made statewide, Pritzker said.

However, what was particularly notable was the presence of Emanuel, who has been almost invisible from city affairs since leaving office a little over two years ago.

“He had the vision on this project when few others did,” said Pritzker, with Emanuel two or three people off to his right side.

Local Ald. Michael Scott, Jr., 24th,  told the crowd that Emanuel was a big help in getting the project under way.

When developers came to him, “They didn’t want anything. They just wanted to buy some land from us,” Scott said, relating his conversation with Emanuel at the time. “Rahm’s always been a champion of the West Side,” having grown up not too far away before his family moved north.

Emanuel did not speak but did help cut the ribbon, standing next to Stratton. Among others who did speak was Samir Mayekar, Lightfoot’s deputy mayor for economic development. He noted that just a few hours earlier, Lightfoot announced nearby the city is selling 250 lots for $1 each and provide a $5.3 million TIF grant to a developer who’s promised to build new single-family homes on them at subsidized prices.

Pritzker and Lightfoot have had an at times strained relationship, differing over electing members of the Chicago Board of Education and other issues. Neither’s spokesperson had any immediate comment on the optics of today’s press conferences.

via Crain’s Chicago Business

June 28, 2021 at 03:27PM

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