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Uptown Special Service Area

A “Special Service Area” is a contiguous area within a municipality or county in which special services are provided in addition to those services provided generally throughout the city. Outside of Illinois, similar districts are often called Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) or Community Improvement Districts (CIDs). The cost of the special services is paid from revenues collected from taxes levied or imposed upon property within that area. Stated more simply, SSAs are local tax districts that fund enhanced services and programs within a contiguous area. The enhanced services and programs are in addition to those currently provided through or by the City of Chicago.

SSA-funded projects typically include public way maintenance and beautification, district marketing and advertising, business retention and attraction, special events and promotional activities, security and façade improvements, and other commercial and economic development initiatives.

The City contracts with local nonprofit organizations, called Service Providers, to manage SSA-funded services. Appointed Commissioners for each SSA district oversee and recommend the annual services, budget, and Service Provider agency to the City. From State Street in the Loop to Back-of-the-Yards, there are currently more than 50 active SSAs in Chicago.

The Uptown SSA was established in December 2005, and was renewed and expanded in December 2014. It encompasses the major commercial and mixed-use corridors of the Uptown community including both Broadway and Sheridan Road from Irving Park Road (4000 N) to Foster Avenue (5200 N), parts of Clarendon Road and Marine Drive, as well as the east-west streets of Argyle, Lawrence, Leland, Wilson, and Montrose. Uptown United is the Sole Service Provider for the Uptown SSA.



The largest portions of the SSA budget address cleanliness: street and sidewalk litter removal, graffiti removal, supplementary snow removal, and periodic power washing of sidewalks. Other services include beautification efforts such as the maintenance of decorative sidewalk planters, light pole banners, public art, community events, as well as facade and safety improvement rebates.

Uptown United partners with Cleanslate to provide 7-days a week streetscape maintenance and litter abatement. A crew of four (4) covers over 15-miles of sidewalk daily within the Uptown Special Service Area keeping the neighborhood clean and safe!

Uptown United facilitates public art projects that enliven our streetscape and highlight our unique, inclusive community. The Public Art Program captures and conveys Uptown’s unique identity and sense of place through both mural and sculpture.

Uptown United manages the seasonal planting, maintenance, and watering of more than fifty (50) landscape containers throughout the neighborhood; as well as seasonal maintenance of the Wilson Yard and Argyle Street streetscape planters.

The Special Events Grant Program provides incentives in the form of a grant for community events that demonstrate a measurable benefit to the neighborhood and foster community growth and development with programming.

Uptown United partners with Cleanslate to provide 1-day a week graffiti removal. A crew of two covers over 15-miles of streetscape weekly within the Uptown Special Service Area keeping the neighborhood clean and safe!

Telling Uptown’s story, building neighborhood pride, and highlighting our amazing local businesses are key to achieving our mission. Uptown United partners with consultants to earn media placements for our neighborhood.

Uptown United’s Facade Rebate Program provides incentives via a rebate for physical improvements to storefronts and facades along the public way. The goal of the program is to beautify and revitalize Uptown and to attract and retain businesses.

Banners beautify and brand the neighborhood and also provide an opportunity to highlight special events and seasons such as the Lunar New Year and Pride Month. Uptown United manages banner placements on more than 200 street light poles.

Uptown United manages the maintenance of more than 4,500 square feet of landscaping in twenty (20) infiltration planters built by CDOT in 2016 as part of the Argyle Shared Street project located on Argyle between Broadway and Sheridan Road.

Uptown United manages the installation, maintenance, and watering of seasonal displays in landscape containers as well as a community identifier and seasonal lighting built by CDOT in 2017 as part of the North Broadway Streetscape.

Uptown United engages in many catalytic studies and neighborhood planning activities that help to support small business, facilitate development, educate the community, and improve quality of life for Uptown business owners and residents.

Uptown United’s Security Rebate Program helps business and property owners who may be limited in their funding with the goal to improve the security and safety of not only their business or property but the public areas of Uptown as well.


Each SSA is governed by a local Commission that oversees and recommends the annual services, budget, and Service Provider Agency to the City. All meetings of the SSA Commission are subject to the Illinois Open Meetings Act. To be eligible to serve as a Commissioner of the Uptown SSA Commission, an individual must be an owner or lessee of property in the Special Service Area. The Commission strives to maintain a varied make-up on the Commission of large and small businesses, geographic distribution and residents to represent a range of interests and viewpoints within the SSA.

Questions about becoming an SSA Commissioner? Please e-mail!

Uptown SSA Commission:
  • Terry Tuohy, Chair, Weiss Memorial Hospital
  • Patti Eick Hutzel, Vice-Chair, residential property owner
  • Matthew Ruffi, Treasurer, Chicago Market – A Community Co-op
  • Noreen Keeney, Secretary, residential property owner
  • Kelly ChengSun Wah BBQ
  • Winston FengFirst Dental Center
  • Dominic IrpinoIrpino Real Estate
  • Nick Pinto, Cedar Street
  • David RettkerIllinois Action for Children
  • Lesley ShowersInstitute of Cultural Affairs
  • Karl SullivanWilson Abbey & Everybody’s Coffee

Meeting Schedule

Meeting Minutes and Agendas


The Uptown SSA funds many special or additional services and/or physical improvements in its area. The need for prioritization of those services and improvements are determined by the SSA Commission. In an SSA, only the property owners that benefit from the improvements are assessed the additional tax that is used to pay for an expansion of services. Often, services that are provided by an SSA can replace services that a business pays for (e.g., litter abatement).

In 2014, Uptown United embarked on reconstitution—or renewal—of Uptown SSA #34. During the reconstitution, local volunteer stakeholders who made up the Reconstitution Committee recommended that the tax cap for the Uptown SSA remain at 0.25% of Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) for the properties within the reconstituted district. This means that, while the amount of taxes collected will vary from year to year based upon the tax rate necessary to meet budget needs, it can never exceed 0.25% of a property’s EAV. In 2024, this translates into a tax levy of $722,253. Combined with a modest carryover from the prior year budget, the Uptown SSA has a budget of $762,253 to spend on projects, services, and improvements in Uptown. In 2024, the Uptown SSA is spending the programmatic portion of its budget as follows:

Customer Attraction:
Public Way Aesthetics:
Sustainability / Public Places:
Economic / Business Development:
Safety Programs:
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