The fine folks over at Curious City, WBEZ's excellent series that answers all your Chicago-related quandaries, set out to provide an easy to understand look at TIF districts.
What they ended up with was Sharpie drawings and a straightforward video that gives you a primer on TIFs and their growing impact in Chicago. Watch the above video and gain an understanding of one of the most powerful tools your city government has to push money toward projects.
While TIFs can spur development, they also have an impact on the funding of your schools and other local government entities.
The 19th Ward currently has three TIF districts. The 111th Street TIF runs along the street from Pulaski to Kedzie, the Rock Island/Western Avenue TIF runs along its namesake street and in pockets along the Metra tracks and the 95th Street TIF district.
Projects in the ward that have received TIF funds in recent years have included the Mount Greenwood Walgreens Center, 95th Street street scape, Borders and Home Run Inn Pizza.
Earlier this summer, Ald. Matt O'Shea detailed plans to build an ice arena and gymnastics center on the vacant lots at 111th and Western Avenue using TIF funds. That project has an estimated cost of $12 million.