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Commission approves funding sources for programs honoring legacy businesses

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Members of the city’s Economic Development Commission (EDC) have taken the biggest step yet in establishing a program to honor legacy businesses. Committee members voted to allocate up to $100,000 in funding for the project at their meeting on Wednesday, July 27.

City Councilman Claire Kelly (No. 1) said the program she hopes authorities will use to preserve Evanston’s long-standing business, which has long been considered a key component of the city’s economic development strategy. proposed the creation of

Hecky’s Barbecue owner Cheryl Judith speaks in support of the city’s Legacy Business Program at the Economic Development Board meeting on July 27.
credit: Bob Seidenberg

Under this program, the City will establish a Legacy Business Registry to formally recognize the contributions of such companies to the City.

A proposed program could include a dedicated website containing business guides, featured businesses, city awareness (such as plaques, branding, window decals, announcements from the mayor, or a combination of these) to help businesses can draw attention to

Grants could be up to $25,000 per business or up to $10,000 per property owner, officials suggest.

heOvercoming “good times and hard times”

At the July 27 meeting, several longtime business owners voted in favor of the program, including Cheryl Judith, owner of Hecky’s Barbecue at 1902 Green Bay Road. “When Hecky passed away in May 2020, I was tasked with carrying out our plans to renovate the restaurant,” Judith told committee members.

“Hecky’s opened October 13, 1982,” she said. “So it was a long time ago to renew. It was a very costly venture.”

Judith said she was grateful for the support the city has shown to long-established businesses that play an important role.