The SSA is an economic development tool that utilizes an ad valorem real estate property tax levy to fund community programs and initiatives in a specific neighborhood, beyond the services traditionally provided by the municipalities.
There are currently 53 active SSAs, serving various neighborhoods in the city. Most of the SSAs were created after the enactment of the SSA enabling legislation in 1973, their numbers springing up significantly in the 1990s.
The City of Chicago Department of Planning & Development oversees the functioning of those special areas, striving to ensure proper funding and leadership for the community programs. Among the most popular programs, implemented in the Chicago SSAs are maintenance, safety/security, aesthetics, and advertising/promotion projects.
The Marquette Park Special Service Area was created by the Chicago City Council for the purpose of establishing a residential security program.
The program started when a noticeable crime increased in the Marquette Park area without an appropriate increase in police presence or patrols. After all attempts to gain additional police presence on our streets had failed, in 1992 there was an advisory referendum on the ballot. The referendum asked residents who lived between Bell and Kedzie Ave. and 67th to 75th streets, if they would agree to pay more taxes to hire their own security service. In order to work, a Special Service Area (SSA), taxing district had to be created. This SSA allows residents to tax themselves for the single propose of providing additional patrols within the boundaries described above. The referendum was overwhelmingly supported. In the spring and summer of 1993, residents paid for pilot program to test the effectiveness of private security. The results were encouraging. The private security firm stopped numerous crimes in progress though out the Marquette Park community. Finishing touches were then added to a City Ordinance which mandated the taxing district. Although the City Council voted to initiate the program, it wasn’t until July 1994, when the first six commissioners were finally chosen by Mayor Daley. First security firm was selected on 4th of May 1995 and private security officers hit the streets of Marquette Park SSA#14 community on 13-th of May 1995. The Lithuanian Human Services Council of the USA, Inc., has been a sole service provider for SSA#14 since the very beginning of the program. This program became stable and professional.
Chicago SSAs on the Web:Click here to view the SSA provider list