My vision for the 46th Ward includes a vibrant and flourishing business community that creates jobs for its residents. As alderman, I will champion the small and independent businesses that form the backbone of our local economy. The 46th Ward’s economy relies heavily on visitors who come from across the country to experience the World-class entertainment options provided here. It’s no wonder that our economy took an outsized hit during the past several years. As people return to traveling and socializing, many of our businesses are now thriving. Others, however, were unable to survive the pandemic. Empty storefronts and closed bars and restaurants highlight this stark reality. In the face of these challenges, I will take proactive steps to revitalize our local economy across all parts of our ward by building a supportive business culture. As a result, our ward will reap the dual benefits of job creation and additional services/amenities.
We need an alderman who will advocate for local businesses and serve as an ambassador for the ward on a local, national, and international front. Our ward has unique offerings including its lakefront, arts and entertainment venues, and many festivals and block parties that we can leverage to bolster the surrounding economy. Publicizing the ward’s diverse and wonderful business offerings is only the first step in revitalizing our local economy. In addition to retaining and growing our current businesses, we must recruit new businesses to replace those that we have lost. We must also create ways to bolster access to businesses with flexible outdoor dining arrangements, focus on our pre-existing local patios, and integrated efforts to pair our dining and entertainment experiences. Working with our local merchants and business chambers along with our many robust block clubs, we must make a concerted effort to support and strengthen our local economy. I will maintain open communication with the local business community to determine their needs and work both within the ward and at City Hall to create a business-friendly climate responsive to economic conditions and concerns.
Proactive local government leadership plays a critical role in creating the necessary conditions for business to thrive. As alderman, I will help facilitate the success of our small businesses. My ward office will provide resources and assistance to new businesses on issues such as licenses, permits, and zoning information. I also will work with our business community to cut through red tape, remove bureaucratic obstacles, and resolve issues. Crucially, the quality of life in our ward can provide our businesses with a competitive advantage. In order to realize that benefit, however, we need to ensure increased public safety in our community as well as maintain and improve our infrastructure. Labor shortages also impose an impediment for many local businesses. Partnering with Truman College, the Northside American Job Center, and other local resources to develop workforce partnerships and job training can help alleviate this situation. A thriving local economy will provide amenities to the community, create jobs, promote entrepreneurship, and expand the tax base to the benefit of all our residents. I will prioritize these necessary steps to strengthen our business community.