Shop Local SSA61 News

Shop Local 2021 Shopping Spree

Shopping locally, especially at small businesses, in our neighborhoods (1) helps maintain the diversity of stores on the mid-south side, (2) builds strong neighborhoods, (3) creates jobs, (4) provides funds for more City services through sales tax, and (5) promotes community development.

Shopping locally could also make you a winner of the 2021 Southside Shopping Spree! This year’s winner walks away with the Grand Prize of $500 in gift cards from participating businesses.


It’s simple. Make an eligible purchase of $15.00 or more at one of the 2021 participating businesses. Register your purchase online. SAVE YOUR RECEIPT.


Purchases made in person or online of $15.00 or more must be made November 8 – December 6, 2021 to qualify. Purchase amount is based on total receipt including tax. You may enter as many eligible receipts as you like before 12:00 pm Noon on December 7, 2021.


Grand Prize of $500.00 will be arranged as gift cards redeemable at participating businesses. Winner may determine the preferred split of the total value, otherwise one single participating business may be selected for the total amount. Each participating business dictates its own gift card expiration dates and policies governing unused balances. Winner should review policies of the participating business prior to the disbursement of the Grand Prize.


The name drawn will be contacted by phone and/or e-mail by the organizer. The winner must present their eligible receipt by Friday, December 10th at 3:00pm to claim the Grand Prize. If the name drawn does not have an eligible receipt or cannot present the eligible receipt on time, a new name will be drawn and given the same amount of time to respond and claim the Grand Prize.


In eligible purchases include any US government regulated products such as gasoline, cigarettes, lottery tickets, prescription products, beer and/or liquor.


This promotion is hosted by the South East Chicago Commission, non-profit organization, in partnership with Special Service Area #61. Organizer reserves the right to give away additional prizes and/or host additional drawings that have no impact on the Grand Prize.

Shop Local SSA61 News

Shop Local 2021 Participating Businesses

Special Service Area #61 in partnership with the South East Chicago Commission invites you to shop locally and support small businesses this holiday shopping season. Whether it’s a gift, personal care services, holiday dining and entertainment or simply routine purchases, please think Hyde Park first.

Check out the list of 28 participating businesses. When you shop local, save your receipts and register your purchase of $15.00 or more for a chance to win the $500 Shopping Spree Grand Prize!


A Paw Place
1457 E 53rd St
A’Vents by August
5231 S Harper Ct
1451 E 53rd St
Anthos Training Clubs
1558 E 53rd St
Mellow Yellow
1508 E 53rd St
1206 E 53rd St
Open Produce
1635 E 55th St
Color Me Bad Chicago
1614 E 53rd St Suite 6
Pearle Vision
1200 E 53rd St
Deep Purpl – Acai Bowls
5229 S Harper Ct
Pure Barre Hyde Park
5239 S Harper Ave
Doctor Barber Chicago LLC
1614 E 53rd St Suite 2
Rajun Cajun
1459 E 53rd St
East Point Associates
1525 E 53rd St – Suite 705
Sophy Hyde Park Hotel
1411 E 53rd St
First Aid Comics
1617 E 55th St
Suuri Design
5225 S Harper Ct
Frontline Books
5206 S Harper Ave
Sweet Drip Dessert Cafe
1658 E 53rd St
FruVe xPress Juicery
1374 E 53rd St
The Sit Down Cafe & Sushi Bar
1312 E 53rd St
Gracious Davies Salon
1614 E 53rd St Suite 3
Toys et Cetera
1502 E 55th St
Greg King Insurance Agency
(State Farm)
5508 S Lake Park Ave
Wesley’s Shoes
1506 E 55th St
Hyde Park Shopping Center
Hyatt Place Chicago-South / UMC
5225 S Harper Ave
What’s Krackin’ Southern Seafood
1310 E 53rd St
Jade Court
1516 E Harper Ct
YogaSix Hyde Park
1618 E 53rd St

In addition to these great businesses, there are a few Hyde Park businesses that are outside of SSA#61 and even more in the neighborhoods surrounding Hyde Park. Check out the list of 64 participating businesses in the SECC Southside Shop Local initiative.

The month long campaign begins Monday, November 8th through Monday, December 6, 2021. Grand Prize drawing entries must be submitted by 12:00 pm noon, December 7, 2021.

SSA61 News

Safe Halloween for Hyde Park Businesses

~ Hyde Park Vitality Committee Safety Guidance ~

Dear Hyde Park Businesses,

The Hyde Park Vitality Committee (Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, Nichols Park Advisory Council, South East Chicago Commission/Special Service Area SSA #61, the University of Chicago Commercial Real Estate Operations (CREO) Group/Office of Civic Engagement, and McCaffery, Inc.) send our best wishes for a BOOtiful and festive holiday season.  

As we are all aware, Halloween 2021 is just around the corner on Sunday October 31st! The City of Chicago Mayor, Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health encourage all to safely celebrate Halloween in Chicago that emphasizes social distancing and other safety precautions throughout the week. 

As a reminder, as per the City of Chicago, effective August 20, 2021, masks are required in all indoor public settings for everyone 2 years of age and older, regardless of vaccination status. Please be mindful of this during the holiday weekend as you may see an uptick in foot traffic.

As a member of the Hyde Park business community please help make this a safe and positive evening in Hyde Park. For details on how you can assist, please review the safety guidance letter

City of Chicago Business Affairs & Consumer Protection:

Please visit for the guidelines for a safe Halloween. You can download the Halloweek Toolkit for safety guidelines and signage for your home or business. Bar and restaurant owners can read this Top Tips for Liquor Licensees flyer as a reminder of responsibilities.

City of Chicago, BACP

The Special Service Area #61 aka Downtown Hyde Park is comprised of the 53rd and 55th Street corridors connected by Lake Park Avenue. Special Service Areas (SSA), known as Business Improvement Districts or BIDs in other cities, are local tax districts that fund expanded services and programs through a localized property tax levy within contiguous areas. The South East Chicago Commission (SECC) serves as the official Service Provider for SSA #61- Hyde Park.

SSA61 News

SSA61 Special EAV Budget Meeting

The Special Service Area 61 EAV (equalized assessed value) for 2022 has increased from below 5% in 2021 to 8% for 2022. This increase in expected SSA revenue is due to increased property values in the footprint, NOT an increase in our levy, which remains at 0.65%.

The City of Chicago requires commissions with an EAV increase over 8% to hold an open community meeting to review the budget. SSA61 has scheduled a community meeting at 6:30 pm on October 26, prior to the next monthly commissioners meeting.

Special Service Area #61 Hyde Park
Community Meeting
6:30 pm Tuesday, 10/26/2021

  1. Welcome
  2. Overview of the SSA 61
  3. Purpose of This Meeting: 8% Increase in EAV
  4. Review of Accomplishments in 2021
  5. Presentation of 2022 Budget (Summary)
    1. Ongoing maintenance and infrastructure improvements
    1. Goals for 2022 (place-making, public art, branding, marketing)
    1. Possible special events (Shop Local, Holly Days, 4th of July)­
  6. Questions and Comments
  7. Adjourn

The #SSA61 Special EAV Budget meeting will be held online at 6:30 pm. Click for details. The regularly scheduled October 26th commissioners meeting will follow at 7:00 pm.

SSA61 News

SSA61 Extends Invitation to Muralists

Special Service Area #61 invites artists to submit proposals to transform the vacant walls adjacent to 1601 E 53rd Street and 1601 E 55th in the Hyde Park neighborhood, through artistic activation.

Special Service Area #61 (SSA61), Downtown Hyde Park Chicago, is seeking community-driven artists to activate spaces near the railroad underpass (viaducts) located adjacent to 1601 E 53rd Street and 1601 E 55th in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. This mural project aims to highlight Hyde Park’s diversity, in particular its businesses (retail, services, restaurants), people (ethnic/cultural mix, 40% white, 30% Black, 15% Asian, 10% Hispanic), places (beyond the University of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry), or nature (flora/fauna, parks, gardens, open spaces). The murals will be unveiled on Small Business Saturday on Saturday, November 27, 2021.

Applications are due by October 25, 2021. A maximum of two artists will be chosen for final project implementation, and we request a separate budget for each project. To review all details, please download the Mural Project RFP.

SSA61 News

Now Hiring: Business District Program Manager

South East Chicago Commission (SECC) seeks candidates for Business District Program Manager role responsible for Special Service Area #61 – Hyde Park.

Special Service Area (SSA) #61
Position: Business District Program Manager

Post Date: September 20, 2021


The South East Chicago Commission (SECC) is the designated Service Provider for the Special Service Area (SSA) #61 – Hyde Park. The SECC Board of Directors is charged with, among other things, (i) providing policies and procedures for the administration of SSA #61, (ii) determining the composition of staffing to manage SSA #61, (iii) providing fiscal oversight of operations and management to the SSA; and (iv) evaluating the performance of staff engaged in coordinating SSA programs.

The SSA Business District Program Manager is engaged by and is an employee of the SECC.  The SSA Business District Program Manager reports to and works closely with the SECC Executive Director, who reports directly to the SECC Board of Directors, and the SSA #61 Board of Commissioners.  

The SSA Business District Program Manager is responsible for the daily coordination, management, and administration of the SSA #61 programs and services, including all activities and reports to support the SSA’s commercial district.

Applicants must apply by October 14, 2021.

Read the Complete Job Posting:


SSA61 News

If You Know…

6 Things You Should Know about Special Service Area #61 Hyde Park and Downtown Hyde Park Chicago. Six Facts! #IYKYK

1. Established in January 2014, Special Service Area #61 is one of more than 50 active SSAs designated by City of Chicago.

2. The brand Downtown Hyde Park Chicago was launched June 9, 2015 as a physical and virtual destination of more than 400 businesses inviting you to buy services, shop, eat, bank, live, play, and stay.

3. SSA61 is only a small section of the Hyde Park business district. The service area includes about 9 blocks of 53rd street and 5 blocks of 55th Street connected by less than 1/2 a mile of Lake Park Avenue.  VIEW MAP

4. The SSA is funded by a tax levy on commercial property owners located in the SSA footprint. 

5. SSA funding supports 7 categories of special services.

6. SSA61 Commissioners meet virtually or in-person about 10 times per year.  Meetings are open to the public.


South East Chicago Commission is the non-profit service provider for Special Service Area #61 Hyde Park. (SSA61)


Face Coverings Required For Everyone Inside Chicago Businesses


Following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and based on Chicago’s current local COVID-19 data, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is requiring that everyone age two or older, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in public indoor settings, effective Friday, August 20, 2021. Masking remains optional in outdoor settings, where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is lower, though masks are recommended for unvaccinated individuals in crowded outdoor settings. On July 27, 2021, the CDC issued updated guidance that everyone (including fully vaccinated individuals) in areas with “substantial and high transmission,” wear a mask in public indoor settings to help prevent spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant. The CDC defined four levels of community transmission: low, moderate, substantial, and high. Based on Chicago’s population, the city is in the CDC’s “high” category of local transmission when there are more than 400 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed per day. These are the same levels Chicago has used to determine COVID-19 community risk for more than a year.   

On Monday, August 16, 2021, Chicago surpassed 400 new COVID-19 cases per day, moving into the CDC’s “high” category of local transmission. Chicago data is updated every weekday at

In alignment with the CDC’s guidance, the City is now mandating that businesses require masks for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in all public indoor settings. The new public health order does not include capacity limits at public places. This requirement does not apply to outdoor settings – masks remain optional outdoors, where COVID-19 transmission is much less likely. As a reminder, outdoor settings include sidewalk cafes, outdoor patios, rooms with retractable roofs, outdoor tents with at least 50% of the sides open and indoor spaces that are within eight feet of walls that are least 50% open. 

While masking is now required in indoor settings, the requirement allows masks to be removed in certain cases, such as when patrons are actively eating or drinking; personal services that require the removal of face coverings (e.g., facial, shave); and office working spaces in which individual workstations are spaced at least six feet apart. Masks also remain mandatory on public transportation, in healthcare settings, schools, and correctional and congregate settings. 

No changes are being made to the requirements for social distancing. Businesses are still generally encouraged to support social distancing to the extent possible for customers, especially in indoor settings; in addition businesses must post signage indicating that masks are mandated for all customers in indoor settings regardless of vaccination status. 

Businesses seeking more information and guidance should visit The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) will be holding webinars on Thursday, August 19th at 10:00 a.m. and Friday, August 20th at 1:00 p.m. to provide an overview of the mask mandate. To register for a webinar, please visit

The vaccines authorized in the U.S. are working as expected and have been essential in the fight against COVID-19. They are effectively preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Since January 2021, 97% of Chicago’s COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths have been in people who were not fully vaccinated. The CDC estimates that nationally, people who are unvaccinated are three to four times more likely to be infected with COVID-19, and 25 times more likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19 than people who are fully vaccinated. The great majority of COVID-19 cases in Chicago are in unvaccinated individuals. 

We thank all the Chicagoans who have already made the choice to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to help protect themselves, their families, and Chicago. 

The best protection against COVID-19 and the Delta variant continues to be vaccination, including getting both doses if you get a two-dose vaccine. CDPH strongly urges anyone age 12 and older who isn’t yet vaccinated to get vaccinated right away. Chicago residents should call 312-746-4835 or visit for help getting a vaccine. 

SSA61 News

SSA61 Commissioners Resume In Person Meetings

Special Service Area #61 Commissioners have agreed to resume in person meetings after moving to virtual meetings during the height of the pandemic. While pandemic considerations are still of highest priority, in person meetings will be held in the first floor conference room at Hyatt Place Chicago-South (5225 S Harper Ave, Chicago, IL 60615) until further notice.

The next SSA61 Commissioners Meeting will be held Tuesday, July 27, 2021. The full meeting schedule is published and available for the public.

If you have any questions in advance, please call 773-324-6926 or visit or

SSA61 News

sweetgreen celebrates its grand opening

Downtown Hyde Park Chicago welcomes sweetgreen to the 53rd Street! On August 3, 2021 the official ribbon cutting will be held at 10:30 am at the store 1500 East 53rd St, hosted by the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce.

Sweetgreen restaurant serves fresh salads made with organic produce. The company offers seasonal, locally sourced, and sustainable salads and bowls with the aim of connecting more people to real food. It has over 100 locations, and is using new technology to re-imagine the fast-casual model, even as it faces unprecedented challenges from the coronavirus crisis.

The public is invited to the pre-opening preview event on Friday 7/30 or Saturday 7/31 which includes a complimentary meal with your RSVP. To secure your spot, RSVP here!

$10 in sweetgreen app credit for everyone – click this link here to claim the credit.