City News
Black History Month

The Origins of Black History Month

Black History Month is an annual observance in February, celebrating the past and present achievements of African Americans. In February 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, proposed the establishment of "Negro History Week" to honor the history and contributions of African Americans to American life. Dr. Woodson, known as the "Father of Black History", chose the second week of February because it commemorates the birthdays of two men who greatly affected the African American community: Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglass (February 14). Negro History Week became Black History Week in the early 1970's. In 1976, the week-long observance was expanded to a month in honor of the nation's bicentennial.

Black History Month is sponsored by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The Association was founded in 1915 by Dr. Carter Woodson--historian, teacher, author and publisher. Each year the Association designates the national theme for Black History Month. The 2017 theme is “The Crisis in Black Education.”

For meaningful ways to celebrate Black History Month with your family, visit our Community Events page here. 

Economic Development Overview

Maintaining an economically viable and sustainable community is a primary focus for Mayor David A. Gonzalez. Most recently, the creation of the nonprofit Chicago Heights Development Corporation continues the drive to encourage a strong local economy.  The CHDC shares a common goal with the City of Chicago Heights: provide residents with the opportunity to share in the growth of the city and enjoy the benefits of a thriving local economy.  
Jack Hynes, Economic Development Consultant for the City of Chicago Heights, is collaborating with the CHDC to cultivate economic sustainability by retaining and attracting the  investments that will help develop and revitalize commercial and residential neighborhoods. In recent months, residents of Chicago Heights have seen an increase in both job opportunities and retail options. At the major commercial corridors near both the north entrance and west entrance to the city, new businesses have opened (or are in the process of opening) that will diversify the tax base and strengthen the City’s economy.  
In the past year and a half, over $80 million in commercial rehabilitation, expansion, purchases, and construction projects have begun in the City. When combined with the industrial expansions, purchases and construction projects, well over $100 million has come into the City of Chicago Heights. In turn, over 100 full time and part time jobs have been created in the commercial and industrial areas.

Dunkin Donuts

Halsted Street Corridor 

In the past 6 months, travelers utilizing the north Halsted Street entrance to the city have noticed a number of changes. Economic vacancy has been replaced with businesses that have created jobs, growth, and economic opportunity. 

  • Dunkin Donuts—open for business at   120 N. Halsted Street

    • Previously tax delinquent property is now a fully functional business
    • $1.2 million newly constructed building
    • 12 jobs created (both full and part time)
  • Taco Bell—open for business  at the corner of Vollmer Road & Halsted Street

    • $4.2 million newly constructed building
    • 18 jobs created (both full and part time)
  • Furniture Depot—under construction at 375 N. Halsted Street

    • $2.8 million purchase and rehabilitation
    • New Furniture Depot coming soon
Fast Food Restaurants

Lincoln Highway and Western Avenue Corridor

The corridor that merges with the city limits at the western border is under it’s own rehabilitation process. Since the completion of the super Walmart just west of the city limits, new development has begun on the east side of Western Avenue.

  • Approximately $10 million newly constructed development
    • 10,000 square foot strip center
    • This project will eventually house 3 new fast food restaurants
Ultra Foods

Lincoln Highway/Route 30 Corridor

The major retailers and attractions along Lincoln Highway have also undergone rehabilitation and expansion during the past year.

  • Ultra Foods--$4.2 million rehabilitation and expansion
  • Aldi--$4 million rehabilitation and expansion
  • Marcus Chicago Heights Cinema--$10 million rehabilitation
Fresnius Dialysis Center

Chicago Road Corridor

Fresnius Medical Care purchased a long standing city-owned property and is currently constructing a new dialysis center on Chicago Road.  A once empty lot with a $0 tax increment is being transformed into a state-of-the-art medical facility that will meet the needs of patients and also put the property back on the City's tax roll. The $5.5 million dollar construction is underway and the center should be up and running within the year. 

Black History Month

News Around Town

Visit our Community Events page for information on upcoming and ongoing events and Black History Month Activities!

American Masters Maya Angelou

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In observance of President's Day, City Hall will be closed 
Monday, February 20th, 2017.
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