CHICAGO (CBS) — It was another exhausting day of cleanup for Chicago businesses torn apart over the weekend by vandals and looters. Now the city is promising $10 million in help.
The City said grants will be made available on an emergency basis by the Department of Planning and Development. Many business owners and community members are eager to find out if they will qualify.
What started with a single post retweeted hundred of times turned into hundreds of volunteers cleaning up six looting sites across the city’s South Side
“When I saw the flier on Twitter it had about one or two retweets,” said volunteer organizer Ashley Delatorre.
They focused on the neighborhoods that were hammered by looters for hours on Sunday, sweeping up glass and garbage and cooking up food under the watchful eye of Chicago police.
Delatorre was grateful to hear about the $10 million dollar fund for businesses like these but had some concerns.
“I hope that these resources are being allocated to the neighborhoods that were impacted the most,” she said. “We saw a lot of destruction on the south and west sides. And I really do hope that fund is going to be allocated toward family owned smaller businesses.”
Grand Crossing business owner and artist Heavy Crownz feels the same way.
“It’s great to hear the $10 million bill. I think it should go to a bunch of small businesses, a bunch of black businesses, preferably,” Crownz said.
He helped organize a massive group of volunteers, handing out food and PPE to fellow business owners and residents on his heavily looted street.
“It became like this assembly line of love,” he said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot was quite vague about the plan on Wednesday’s teleconference.
“To help support business that have been affected by recent events,” she said.
So CBS 2 asked which businesses will be prioritized. A city spokesperson said the money is coming from Neighborhood Opportunity Bonus system, 80% of which is currently used to support economic development projects on the West, South and Southwest sides, but the exact game plan for this $10 million boost is still being hammered out.
The fund allocates developer fees from downtown construction projects. About $90 million has been paid into the bonus system to date. But the city is calling on institutions and businesses to donate to the fund as well.
A spokesperson said information about the application process will be made publicly available in the coming days.