Tax Increment Financing (TIF) approved for five Chicago school improvement projects

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A pair of Chicago public high schools and a trio of elementary schools will be improved through Tax Increment Financing (TIF) measures approved Sept. 24 by City Council.

Walter Payton College Prep High School, 1034 N. Wells St.
Walter Payton College Prep on the Near North Side will receive $20 million in TIF for the construction of a three-story annex. In replacing a parking lot on the west side of the school, the four-story, 49,00-sq. ft. structure will include 16 classrooms, a “black box” theater, a cafe, gymnasium, fitness room and administrative offices. Total project cost is estimated at $20.6 million. The $600,000 balance will be paid by Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The annex is expected to increase Payton’s enrollment capacity from about 850 to 1,250 students.

Marine Leadership Academy at Ames, 1920 N. Hamlin Ave.
CPS will be reimbursed with $4.5 million in TIF for the 2014 expansion and conversion of Logan Square’s Ames Middle School as the Marine Leadership Academy. Building improvements included upgraded mechanical systems, new computer and science labs, enhanced music and art classrooms, and a new soccer and running track. CPS is funding the balance of the $5.1 million project.

Willa Cather Elementary School, 2900 W. Washington Blvd.
Willa Cather Elementary in East Garfield Park will receive $500,000 in TIF costs associated with its conversion of an asphalt playground to grass and gardens. Proposed improvements include new play areas, vegetable and native plant gardens, permeable surfaces, outdoor classroom space, and a water retention system. The $1.5 million proposal is part of the citywide “Space to Grow” program, a public-private partnership with Healthy Schools Campaign and Openlands conservation organization that transforms schoolyards into outdoor spaces for students and the community. The funding balance will be paid for with $500,000 each from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and the Chicago Department of Water Management.

Lyman A. Budlong Elementary School, 2701 W. Foster Ave.
Budlong Elementary School in Lincoln Square will receive $2.2 million in TIF to support the renovation of restroom facilities throughout the four-story building. The work will be entirely funded by TIF.

Franklin Elementary Fine Arts Center, 225 W. Evergreen Ave.
Franlin Elementary on the Near North Side will receive $410,000 in TIF for the removal and replacement of approximately 300 student lockers. The work will be entirely funded by TIF.


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