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Mayor Emmanuel Bids Farewell to City Council & Spring LGBTE Workshop

The week of April 22nd, Mayor Emanuel presided over his final City Council meeting. The meeting was very productive. Alderman voted to approve the expansion and modernization of the Divvy bike share program, TIFs to support public infrastructure improvements for the North Branch Industrial Corridor and the Near South Side, and an ethics reform package

In his farewell speech, Mayor Emanuel reflected, “On this occasion of our last Council meeting together allow me to say that the opportunity to serve with you and to serve the people of the City of Chicago, the greatest city in the greatest country on earth, has truly been the highest honor of my career. And because of that, today, I feel like the luckiest man on the face of this earth”.

Watch the full address here.

More Affordable Housing in Back of the Yards

Last week the mayor joined Alderman Raymond Lopez and residents in the Back of the Yards community to announce plans for a new mixed-use, mixed-income development. The project will include up to 80 apartments, and a community space on the first floor. The mix of affordable and market rate units will also include one, two and three- bedroom apartments, with many units that will be reserved for families on the CHA housing waiting list.

As Mayor Emanuel said, “this project is another example of how we are breaking the mold of what affordable housing can look like, and staying at the cutting edge of creating shared spaces that bring communities together.”


Launching Chicago’s Census 2020 Steering Committee
In preparation for the 2020 census, Mayor Emanuel convened a steering committee of civic, cultural, and faith leaders. The group is charged with developing a strategy to ensure an accurate and complete count of Chicago’s population with a particular focus on hard-to-count populations including immigrants and non-native English speakers, homeless individuals, returning citizens, individuals living with disabilities, African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, children under age five and the elderly. The group is expected to grow over the following year to ensure robust advocacy and support for an accurate count.

“An accurate census not only ensures a fair share of federal funds and honest congressional representation, but it gives the City guidance on how to best deliver vital services that residents expect,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The census is a blueprint for our city’s future, meaning it is essential everyone who calls Chicago home is counted.”

REI Opens New Store

Mayor Emanuel cut the ribbon on a new, two-story REI store on the banks of Chicago River’s North Branch. The 40,000 square-foot retail space will connect residents to the river, offering kayak and paddleboard rentals with direct access to the Chicago River, and create new jobs in the community.

The store’s location along the North Branch Canal will soon benefit from habitat improvements, pedestrian walkways, fishing stations, vegetative islands, viewing platforms, canoe launches and other amenities that cater to the public and wildlife. Chicago is one of five U.S. cities where REI is investing in rewilding efforts to transform urban spaces into areas for outdoor recreation.


CTA 95th Street Gets New Look and New Sound

World-renowned Chicago artist Theaster Gates joined the mayor to unveil two one-of-a-kind workscommissioned as a finishing touch to the $280 million 95th Terminal Reconstruction. Theaster Gates created the visual piece, america, america, using decommissioned fire hoses to materialize the history of the civil rights struggle in the U.S.

Another addition to the 95th CTA station, An Extended Song of Our People (AESOP), will act as an artist performance space and radio station and provide riders with real-time programming, including an onsite DJ which will broadcast over the 95th Street Station’s public address system. Under Mayor Emanuel’s leadership, 60 new art installations have been announced or installed across the system – doubling CTA’s collection of public art.


Signing Tobacco 21

Mayor Emanuel joined Governor Pritzker, members of the Illinois General Assembly and advocates forthe signing of Tobacco 21, which will raise the age requirements to purchase tobacco and e-cigarette products to 21 in Illinois. Chicago has seen a 50 percent decrease in tobacco use over the last six years, which is due in part to raising the purchasing age to 21, banning tobacco discounts and instituting marketing regulations. Said Mayor Emanuel, “Our children must never be counted as part of tobacco companies’ bottom lines. They are our future, not their addicted consumers.”

Chicago Stories with Dr. Helene D. Gayle
Finally, in the latest episode of the Chicago Stories podcast, Mayor Emanuel spoke with Chicago Community Trust president Dr. Helene D. Gayle about public health, community development, and much more. Dr. Gayle has spent over 30 years tackling issues like HIV/AIDS, economic development and female empowerment at the Centers for Disease Control, the Gates Foundation, CARE, the McKinsey Social Initiative and now the Chicago Community Trust, but that wasn’t her plan when she started her career. All Dr. Gayle knew was that she wanted to make a difference. Listen to Chicago Stories to learn about Dr. Helene Gayle’s path to Chicago and her hopes for the city we love.

Until next time, thank you for your passion for and commitment to our great city.

Roderick K. Hawkins
Deputy Chief of Staff for Public Engagement
Office of the Mayor

Keywords: City of Chicago, Farwell, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Thanks to our Mayor

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