CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor-Elect Lori Lightfoot is calling for more transparency into two massive redevelopment projects, ahead of key votes on taxpayer financing for Lincoln Yards and The 78.
The City Council Finance Committee is expected to vote Monday on $900 million in tax-increment-financing subsidies for the $6 billion Lincoln Yards project, a 54-acre development along the Chicago River between Bucktown and Lincoln Park.
The committee also is set to vote on up to $700 million in TIF money for The 78, a proposed $7 billion development on 62 acres of vacant land along Chicago River between the South Loop and Chinatown, which developers have touted as the city’s 78th neighborhood.
Before that vote, however, Lightfoot wants the committee to hold a “subject matter hearing to address major concerns” about the two projects.
“From day one, I have raised concerns about these deals and the deeply flawed process that has led us to this moment. That’s why I’m calling for the committee meeting tomorrow to be a transparent and fulsome subject matter hearing to address questions including consequences for other TIF districts, affordable housing options, plans for minority- and women-owned businesses, and impacts on diversity, population density, schools, traffic, and other factors,” Lightfoot said in a statement released Sunday night. “For major development projects to drive equitable economic growth, they must be coupled with community input and a transparent, informed decision-making process.”
There is also growing opposition to the two projects among new aldermen. Eight incoming aldermen have called on Finance Committee Chairman Pat O’Connor to cancel Monday’s meeting to vote on the TIF money for Lincoln Yards and The 78 until the new mayor and new City Council take office.
Critics have said there’s not enough affordable housing included in the projects, and what is included is too expensive for most low-income families.
Lightfoot has said there are many other questions she would like answered before the city moves forward with the projects.
“I’ve been very clear that I think that the process has been very flawed. There’s a lot of questions that still are not answered regarding impacts on infrastructure, transportation, and just the surrounding quality of life. We are looking at a level of density that we don’t have in our city outside of the central business district,” she told CBS 2 last week.
The Finance Committee meeting starts at 10 a.m. at City Hall.