Beth Kregor Advocates for Simplifying Chicago's Permit Process for Small Business Signage

Op-ed: Aldermen, give us a sign Chicago will be vibrant, not vacant

You probably heard that the entire City Council debated and recently voted to put up new signs with a new name for our city’s most famous, scenic street. But did you know that the entire City Council — all 50 aldermen — votes on every new business sign, or awning, or flowerpot, or bench for customers if it extends into or over the sidewalk? It’s been this way for too long and we need some signs of change.

Small businesses are still reeling from the pandemic, when many were shut down or severely limited in their operations. But there is hope. Entrepreneurial souls are eyeing the vacant storefronts in their neighborhoods and daring to imagine what vibrant storefronts might do for them and their communities.

But when an entrepreneur wants to start something new and tell the neighbors about it, Chicago makes it extremely complicated. Plus, some of aldermen want to control the process, down to the font on the sign.

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