What is an SSA?

Establishment

Click here for a document answering FAQS about SSAs

Special Service Areas, known as Business Improvement Districts or BIDs in other cities, are local tax districts that fund expanded services and programs through a localized property tax levy within contiguous areas. The enhanced services and programs are in addition to those currently provided through the City.

SSA-funded projects typically include but are not limited to: public way maintenance and beautification; district marketing and advertising; business retention/attraction, special events and promotional activities; auto and bike transit; security; façade improvements; and other commercial and economic development initiatives.

The City contracts with local non-profits, called Service Providers, to manage SSAs. Mayorally-appointed SSA Commissioners for each SSA district oversee and recommend the annual services, budget and Service Provider Agency to the City. There are currently 50+ active SSAs in Chicago.

A Sole Service Provider is selected by its Commissioners to administer programs to support the commercial areas. Uptown United has served as sole service provider.