Vital Communities

Economic Development


Goal: 

Pursue inclusive economic and community growth by supporting residents, growing businesses, attracting investment and nurturing talent.

Spurring Economic Development Through Tax Incentives

The Bureau of Economic Development (BED) helped 48 businesses apply for tax incentives, representing $165 million in estimated capital investment, an estimated creation of 910 jobs and estimated retention of 951 jobs in 2019.

Launching the Southland Development Authority

BED’s investment and leadership fueled the November 2019 launch of the Southland Development Authority (SDA) to drive the strategic, large-scale investment necessary to propel Cook County’s south suburbs forward. 
(Above) President Preckwinkle spoke at the launch of the Southland Development Authority at Thornton Distilling Company on November 19, 2019.

Cook County's south suburbs were once the heart of the Chicagoland economy and the Southland Development Authority brings together community, industry and government to re-establish the south suburbs as an economic powerhouse of the Chicago region. Cook County has pledged $300,000 in FY2019 and FY2020 for the initiative. Investing in the SDA is especially significant because the region’s population alone would make it the 35th largest city in the US, with $16 billion in economic output. (See below)
Population Comparison:
Cook County’s South Suburbs and Major U.S. Cities

Source: US Census Bureau American Community Survey 2012 - 2018 5-year estimates.

Expanding Affordable Housing and Homeownership Opportunities

The Bureau of Economic Development funded six projects through federal HOME funds to provide affordable housing in 2019. In addition to BED's efforts, the Cook County Landbank Authority (CCLBA) and Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) have also celebrated 2019 milestones.
In 2019, the Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA) acquired 597 vacant properties and celebrated their 500th home rehab in November. 525 community developers work with the CCLBA, the majority of whom are Black or Latinx. Since 2014, CCLBA has brought $71 million back into communities through rehabbed properties, and has exceeded their 75% homeownership goal: 82% of all reoccupied properties have been acquired for affordable homeownership.
In October 2019, Vanessa Johnson (pictured right) won a newly-rehabbed home in Washington Heights as part of the Land Bank's third Home Giveaway, a program sponsored by Fifth Third Bank. The program raises awareness of the Land Bank's Homebuyer Direct Program, which rehabs vacant properties and sells them to residents as affordable homes. 
The Housing Authority of Cook County helped 17,563 families access affordable housing in 2019 via their voucher programs. An additional 1,800 families found housing through public housing and rental subsidies.

The Policy Roadmap: Five-Year Strategic Plan for Offices Under the President lays the foundation for the next five years of work by the Offices Under the President (OUP) of Cook County. Created under the leadership of the President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, Toni Preckwinkle, the Policy Roadmap incorporates key policy priorities and strategic objectives and reflects the administration’s core values of equity, engagement and excellence, and a vision for fostering safe, thriving and healthy communities.