Mayor wants to increase funding for new construction projects

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Qualified new construction projects across Chicago would be eligible for up to 50 percent funding under a proposal by Mayor Lori Lightfoot to revamp the city’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund.

The fund was created to boost development projects on the South and West sides using fees paid by developers to build high-rises downtown and using the money to build neighborhood projects.

Currently, the program caps grant funding for new construction projects at 30 percent of a project’s total cost, and Lightfoot wants to increase that amount to 50 percent.

She introduced an ordinance with the proposed changes at a recent city council meeting. Aldermen would need to approve the measure for it to take effect.

“The improvement means that a $100,000 new construction project would be eligible for $50,000 in grant funding versus $30,000. Likewise, a $500,000 project would be eligible for $250,000,” Commissioner of Planning and Development Maurice Cox said in a statement. “The increased access to capital reduces an owner’s need for other funding sources and makes new projects more viable where they’re needed most.”

Rehabilitation projects on existing buildings can already receive up to 50 percent of their total costs in grants.

If the increase is passed, it will apply to projects receiving up to $250,000 in grants. Projects seeking more would face additional rules.

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