Chicago COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force releases plan for city's recovery

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago's COVID-19 Recovery Task Force released their plan for how the city can move forward and recover from the coronavirus.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot presented what she said is a historic opportunity to help Chicago recover not just from COVID-19's health and economic impact, but also from the underlying issues of systemic racism further exposed by the killing of George Floyd.

"This crisis truly does afford us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to really rethink and remake the landscape of Chicago and Chicagoland," Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot also said the price tag from the pandemic and earlier unrest is approaching $1 billion. The mayor revealed that as of late April, canceled events have cost the city $900 million in lost revenue. She did not say how much it would cost to implement the task force's recommendations.

"This has got to be a public-private partnership," she said. "But we believe, particularly in tough economic times, that the governments at all levels should act as a stimulus. We have no choice but to make these investments."

The recovery plan calls providing more access to mental and emotional health resources, and providing more economic opportunities for Black and Brown businesses.

Mayor Lightfoot announced the formation task force last April. The task force was focused on five areas: policy and economic stimulus, mental and emotional health, marketing and business development, regional coordinators and an economic change study.

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The task force is making 17 recommendations in response to what the city calls targeted outcomes. Those recommendations are:

Outcome 1: Address new and old traumas:

-Create the most advanced healing-centered region in the country
-Increase access to mental and emotional health resources and services in communities
-Create a culturally sensitive, diverse mental health workforce

Outcome 2: Expand economic opportunity, quality employment, and financial security:

-Reimagine the region's workforce infrastructure and create a plan to invest in displaced and young workers
-Increase ownership and employment for Black and brown residents in the regions' contracting and construction industries
-Create the most vibrant small and medium-sized business and Black- and brown-owned business community in America
-Expand relief programs and pilot innovative approaches to improve and strengthen the social safety net

Outcome 3: Build on our region's strengths:

-Expand the region's transportation, distribution and logistics sector by leveraging new trends in the localization of supply chains
-Strengthen Chicago's healthcare and life-sciences ecosystem
-Build on the region's assets in food and agriculture

Outcome 4: Capture opportunities created by COVID-19:

-Build on the region's historic strength in manufacturing
-Prepare the region to capture HQ2s and corporate development and specialty centers
-Capture film and TV production opportunities given the lack of studio space in California

Outcome 5: Reignite activity throughout Chicago by sharing our story

-Introduce Chicago's master brand
-Lead the re-imagination of regional tourism, travel, and hospitality
-Develop new and existing community hubs to encourage tourism in neighborhoods
-Show the world Chicago is open for business

In addition to the recommendation, the report highlights four initiatives already underway to address inequality, INVEST South/West, Solutions Toward Ending Poverty (STEP), We Will Chicago / Citywide Plan and Chicago Connected

RELATED: Coronavirus Chicago; Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force

"Thanks to the efforts of many people within many units of local and state government, non-for-profit organizations, organized labor and small and large business organizations we have an outstanding plan of action for the recovery and growth of Chicago and the greater Chicagoland region," said Samuel Skinner. "It is now time for all of us to work together to implement this plan of action with upmost speed. Chicago, the city of big shoulders, has successfully faced great challenges before, and we will do so again."

The task force was comprised of:
-Roberto Herencia, chairman of Byline Bank
-Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO of Ariel Investments
-Bob Reiter, Chicago Federation of Labor president
-Jenny Scanlon, UL CEO
-Evelyn Diaz, president of the Heartland Alliance
-Karen Freeman Wilson, president and CEO of the Urban League of Chicago
-Alexa James, executive director, of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Chicago
-Sandra Cordova Micek, CEO of WTTW | WFMT
-Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman
0Anton Seals, Grow Greater Englewood executive director
-Daniel Cronin, DuPage County board chairman
-Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County board president
-Joseph T. Tamburino, Village of Hillside mayor
-Ben Harris, executive director of the Kellogg Public-Private Initiative at Northwestern University
-Ai-Jen Poo, co-founder of the National Domestic Worker's Alliance
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