Commissioner Cox addresses CCAC, 2020 Meeting Schedule
Commissioner Cox addresses CCAC, 2020 Meeting Schedule
CCAC eNews
December 2019
CCAC eNews is the monthly newsletter of the Chicago Central Area Committee. For more information about the CCAC or to inquire about membership, please contact Kelly O'Brien at (312) 602-5148 or
Download the 2020 Meeting Calendar (PDF)!
The CCAC 2020 Meeting Calendar is ready to download in PDF format. The Calendar lists this year's dates and locations for our popular luncheon speaker series, hosted each month by a different CCAC member organization.
(NOTE: Locations subject to change--see website for newest calendar. Meetings open to paid members and guests, only.)

Download the CCAC 2020 Meeting Calendar (PDF)
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New Planning Chief Commits to Neighborhood Revitalization with City-Wide Plans
CCAC would like to thank its Chairman Greg Hummel and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner for hosting the membership for the December meeting and holiday reception at their offices.   The membership heard from Maurice Cox, Chicago’s new Commissioner of Planning and Development who spoke at length on his approach to lead the Department in order to fulfill Mayor Lightfoot’s plans for the City’s development and growth.  He said her directive when she hired him was simply by telling him, “’We really need someone to lift up the Chicago neighborhoods.’”
Maurice Cox, Chicago Commissioner for Planning and Development, and Kelly O'Brien, Executive Director of CCAC
In his opening Cox spoke about the importance of the City’s core by saying, “The heart of any city is its downtown.  You cannot have a healthy city if the heart of the city is not robust and dynamic.  Chicago is very fortunate through the collective work of many others.  You’ve been very successful to create a vibrant center that is the envy of other cities around the country.”  He added, “There is the other side that is what I call the soul:  residents live and thrive in Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods, and they have to be a part of bringing the City forward.”  
To learn more about these neighborhoods Cox revealed he has been on driving tours with each of the City’s 50 Ward Aldermen to allow the Aldermen to show him their wards. He said he was surprised to learn about the difference in development throughout the City, and said, “It has taken a long time to get to this level of disparity…and it was caused by policy.  If policy created this problem, policy can fix it.”  
After joining the Department he quickly concluded it needs changes to fix these problems, as well as address some of the City’s corruption problems.  “That can offset all the minor skirmishes that have played out at the ward level,” he said.   To achieve that, he has begun a reorganization and directed that anyone with a Planning Degree in the Department join a new Neighborhood Commission to be led by seven regional planners (that he is currently recruiting).  Cox hopes that by reforming the Department to make it more user friendly, it can lead to “real projects, real public spaces, it can transform streets, shops and storefronts, and provide housing options that allow for families of all types to live in the neighborhoods.” 
Cox was not shy in tackling the Chicago tradition of Aldermanic prerogative, which is the unofficial policy of allowing each Alderman to control development in their ward.  He said, “We have 50 Alderman here!  Maybe we should have an Aldermanic institute to bring some of our professionals together to advise them.”  He later said, “The Mayor has made it pretty clear with her Executive Order on Day One…Aldermen can’t simply shut down projects on a whim.”   He added, “We are going to have to address zoning.  If we have a City-wide plan that all Chicagoans agree to, we can push back on ad-hoc zoning changes because we have a plan that is adopted by the entire City of Chicago.”  
In providing advice to the Mayor on how to achieve all her big plans he has suggested breaking it down into small pieces and start with neighborhood corridors.  He said, “What would it be like for a family to get ice cream in their neighborhood, or to go on date-night around the corner?  These are the simple quality of life amenities that help people stay in our neighborhoods.  Then we’ll layer the public parks, housing options, then the schools, and the transportation systems, and before we know it we’ll have a comprehensive plan.”  
Cox commented on the downtown’s success, and how to translate into achievements elsewhere in the City.  He explained, “This work includes getting community input on a set of priorities, mining the resources to deliver the projects, reorganizing city government to deliver the promise, and then we’ll see the fruits of that labor in real time.  A big piece of this is design, and I’m seeing evidence that the downtown has done a great job of valuing public space and I’m looking to replicate that in the neighborhoods.”
To create a coordinated effort the Department is reaching out to community organizations to provide alignment of efforts.  He said, “A lot of people are doing a lot of different things, but we don’t always have alignment because of a lack of guidance from the City.”  He added, “I’m thankful to CCAC for providing alignment early on, and every day we are seeing more organizations trying to get into this jet stream to improve our neighborhoods.” 
Before the Commissioner spoke the newly elected Burnham Council leadership addressed the crowd, the Commissioner spoke about his plans for the Department, and the audience enjoyed hearing about his plans.  
Next CCAC Meeting:  Tuesday, January 14, 2020 
Please join us for the January membership meeting hosted by Gina Berndt, Managing Director at Perkins & Will.  The guest speaker will be Rick Matton, Senior Economist and Economic Advisor for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.  
Matton will be talking about the economic outlook for the nation, the State of Illinois, and the City of Chicago for 2020. His remarks will include factors supporting growth such as strong labor markets, and optimistic consumer sentiment as well as factors that may slow growth such as trade frictions and growing government budget deficits.
CCAC January Membership Meeting
Rick Mattoon, Senior Economist and Economic Advisor, Federal Reserve Banks of Chicago  
Gina Berndt, Managing Director
Perkins & Will
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
12 noon - 1:30 p.m. 
Perkins & Will
410 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1600
Chicago, IL  60601 
Corridor Revitilization Iniative Update
CCAC organized teams that consulted on revitilzation efforts for retail corridors in five underserved neighborhoods in Chicago's south and west sides that were identified by community organizations, in partnerships with Wold Business Chicago.  CCAC will have a "Reveal and Reception" to showcase the team's important work, accomplishments and recommendations to spark a community led neigborhood revitalization.  
Corridor Revitilization Reveal and Reception
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. with reception to follow
Canon Design
225 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1100
Chicago, IL. 60601
2020 Meeting Schedule
Thank you to all of the very generous hosts that have volunteered to host the CCAC membership.  Please click this link for a listing of all 2020 CCAC Meeting dates, which include two dates that are in the evening.  Please note that locations are subject to change and will be reported to the membership in the previous months newsletter as well as direct e-mails.  As a reminder, beginning in 2019, members of the Burnham Council are also invited to attend. 
Journey to Dubai for World Expo 
January 27 - February 2, 2021
CCAC is very much looking forward to sending a delegation to the World Expo held in Dubai in early 2021 (a year from now).  CCAC member Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture was selected to design the Al Wasl Plaza for the World Expo in Dubai, and is organizing this special opportunity for our members and their guests. 
Deposits are due by January 28, 2020 in the amount of $750 per person, with final payment due in September for a total of $3,442 for double occupancy or $4,672 single.  

A preliminary agenda and expected costs can be found by clicking this link. 
There are still a few spots available, to add your name to the confirmed list e-mail
The Burnham Council Update:  Big Plans for 2020
The newly elected leadership Board for the Burnham Council has made plans for a strategic planning session in early January 2020 to chart a path for continued growth and development.  The results of those plans will be announced in the January newsletter.  
Thank you to our members for all you do to make us who we are.  All the best for the coming New Year!
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