Chamber uses funding to install holiday lights


The Sauganash neighborhood is known for its decorated homes at Christmas, and this year the Sauganash Chamber of Commerce is using a portion of the funds from its new special service area to light up the commercial district for the holidays.

"We have all of the taller buildings (near Cicero and Peterson avenues) lit on the roofline," Sauganash Special Service Area chairman Jay Smith said. "We thought it would be a nice tie-in with the neighborhood."

The white lights can be seen from the Edens Expressway, and the chamber is hoping that some motorists will be encouraged to exit the expressway and shop at area stores, chamber executive director Jennifer Herren said.

The purchase of the lights and their installation cost about $20,000, and the chamber plans to re-use the lights next year. "We haven’t decided when they’ll come down, possibly the end of January," Smith said. "When it gets dark at 4 p.m., it’s nice to have things lit up a bit."

The chamber led the effort to create a special service area, which was created in 2013, to better market and beautify the commercial district. The taxing body has generated $75,000 this year, some of which was spent on maintaining planters and hanging baskets in the area.

A special service area is a taxing body run by a commission of local property and business owners, and the Sauganash SSA covers the commercial properties in an approximate one-block radius of the Cicero-Peterson intersection. The chamber manages the SSA on behalf of the commission.
Smith said that the chamber is considering installing a kiosk near the Cicero-Peterson intersection which would have information about the area’s history.

Special service areas operate at the Six Corners and Belmont-Central shopping districts, and the Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce is looking into the feasibility of an SSA in its commercial area.