Michele understands that small businesses represent the backbone of our community and grow our local economy. That’s why she works closely with business owners, and City-wide and local chambers of commerce as well as area residents to revitalize our business corridors and make sure they get the support they need from City Hall.
During her tenure, she’s worked to streamline the bureaucratic process that ties up small business applications, and her efforts have resulted in nearly a 40% decrease in the number of permits and licenses small business are required to acquire before opening up.
One of her first acts in office was to co-sponsor the ordinance to eliminate the “head tax,” an unfair mandate restricting the amount of employees that could be hired to work in a small business. The elimination of this tax allowed small businesses to hire additional employees, growing our local economy.
She created a new “neighborhood crossroads” at the site of the former Children’s Memorial Hospital site that will serve as a vital economic anchor that will offset the loss of our ward’s largest employer. This new crossroads will provide a strong blend of commercial and residential space, over an acre of public open space and tremendous sidewalk space for sidewalk cafés.
To address vacant storefronts in our ward, she also took on recalcitrant landlords who refused to lease their storefronts to willing tenants by filing suit against them. This action forced the landlords to re-invest in their properties – and they leased the spaces.
There are now 50% fewer vacant storefronts on Clark Street and 30% fewer vacancies in the Armitage / Halsted retail corridor. Both corridors are rebounding with numerous new tenants, including many new restaurants and new retail concepts.