Contact: Kelley Quinn
CHICAGO — Mayoral candidate Gery Chico on Monday rolled out a plan that would create an entertainment district on the west side of O’Hare International Airport.
“This would generate tens of millions of dollars and would protect Chicago families from getting hit with another brick on the back in new taxes,” Chico said.
Chico, who is the leading Latino candidate for mayor, said the district could be built underground. He would then impose a special fee on hotels, bars, restaurants, convention centers and other development generated by that western access. The new revenue would be shared between Chicago and the communities of DuPage County.
“There is so much potential on the western side of the airport, but no one has been able to get a project moving. I can do it because I’ve done it before,” said Chico, who oversaw construction of a terminal at the airport when he served as Mayoral Chief of Staff.
A person just needs to turn their of the airport to look at how the airport has been a boon to Rosemont, which has a fashion outlet, restaurants, hotels, an arena and a casino.
Chico said the plan could mirror a plan similar to the district that surrounds McCormick Place.
Chico described the idea as a “revenue-sharing” arrangemen
As reported in the Sun-Times: DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said he has discussed the taxing district with Chico and is supportive of it.
“It’s a fabulous idea –– a perfect example of how we, in the region, should be working together. There’s so much potential for jobs and economic development,” Cronin told the Sun-Times.
Because of federal law, Chicago cannot take money raised from the airport — it is required to use it for maintenance.
“We can, and will, get this project off the ground. Not only is it going to generate revenue to help with the city’s pension issues, but it will create so many new jobs that Chicago needs,” Chico said. “It’s a win-win for so many people.”