Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle addresses county, municipal and business officials at the launch of the Southland Development Authority at the Thornton Distilling Company in November 2019.
There has been a great deal of talk recently about reviving interest and investment in Chicago’s South and West Sides, believed by many to receive far less attention than the city’s splendid and expanding downtown. But other portions in the metropolitan area also suffer from disinvestment and neglect, especially the south suburbs, and a new coalition led by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle wants to change their trajectory. Setting such plans in motion is not easy for such a huge region, which stretches 14 miles from Chicago’s southern border down to Cook County’s border with Will County, and roughly 10 miles east from towns like Country Club Hills to the Indiana border. Unlike Chicago, which benefits from a centralized planning department, Preckwinkle’s target is split into about 40 municipalities.
“These are communities that are geographically small, and resource-challenged,” she said.
Preckwinkle aims to lend the county’s weight and financial wherewithal to the many struggling towns. Along with many suburban mayors, business owners and other stakeholders, late last year she helped start the Southland Development Authority, a new government agency that will create plans to leverage the region’s assets and activate its economy…Please click here to read Brian Rogal’s story in Bisnow Chicago.