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Alderman Emma Mitts: A Visionary and Fighter for the West Side

Leads a band of sisters, helping to build up the community

4/14/2021, noon
Alderman Emma Mitts, has faithfully served her 37th Ward for 21 years, building a respectable reputation and garnering the respect ...
 Alderman Emma Mitts: A Visionary and Fighter for the West Side
Leads a band of sisters, helping to build up the community

      Alderman Emma Mitts, has faithfully served her 37th Ward for 21 years, building a respectable reputation and garnering the respect and love of the people. Mitts is also chairman of the West Side Black Elected Officials.
     Always for the underdog, Alderman Mitts has championed the cause of uniting the people of her Ward to get things done for the betterment of the community. Her philosophy is simple yet powerful, “Unity in the Community”; believing it is the only way to build up the community and strengthen its people and
businesses.
     Examples of “Unity in the Community” have played out over and over again in various ways and through the many projects. Projects that she and others have taken up the charge to find solutions for problems that negatively impact the community.
     In February, in response to the alarming increase in carjackings in the city, Alderman Mitts convened a
webinar for the public, citing the need for resources and participation from all neighborhood partners, youth and parents.
     Alderman Mitts has also led the charge to bring the city’s new Joint Public Safety Training Campus (JPSTC) to the West Side. The facility, now rising at 4433 W Chicago Ave in West Garfield Park, will be a new state-of-the-art facility to serve the city’s continued efforts to provide the best tools, technology
and training environment for first responders.
     She has led a “band of sisters” in pushing the project to include MBE construction firms and workers from the community. These women advocates include Executive Committee Member, Dr. Elizabeth Lockhart; Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) Vice President Barbara McGowan; Cynthia Williams, Austin People’s Action Council; Margarite Garner, Community Liaison
Outreach Consultant with Broadway Group Corporation; WestSide Forward’s Roxanne Charles, Engagement with Local Businesses & Training; and Emmily Stokes, CSC Compliance, M/WBE Compliance. The new $85 million dollar campus will serve as a state-of-the-art training complex for the Chicago Police and Fire Departments and its EMTs.               

     Furthermore, as an investment in the West Side community, the facility will include a Chicago Boys and Girls Club annex, offering programs, training and activities for
neighborhood youth.
     The JPSTC will be the diamond on the city’s West Side, joined with other Mitts-lead initiatives. She spearheaded opening of the city’s first Walmart store; helped secure Menards, Coca-Cola and CVS Pharmacy; supported the model of “Black Lives Matter” as a call-to-action for the community; and helped open the ward’s first public library.
      Additionally, the JPSTC project is providing business for minority contractors and jobs for residents. Workforce commitments have been promised for the hiring of 50% city residents and 15% project area residents from the immediate West Side neighborhood. To make the acquisition of labor easier the community liaison is an available resource to help connect subcontractors with the local workforce.
     Indeed, things are looking very positive with tracking well above their MBE goals. Subcontracting Requirements are MBE – 28% and WBE – 8%, along with accepted certification only for City of Chicago and/or Cook County. MBE subcontractors who have been awarded contracts are: New Horizon Steel, Unity Fencing, II in 1 Construction as a subcontractor on caissons, and AJ Trucking as a trucking subcontractor.
      Construction completion date for the JPSTC is TBD, with the grand opening to follow. The planning team consists of the City of Chicago; the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC); Joint Venture; Public Safety Community Builders (PSCB); Assets, Information & Services; and the Chicago Police and Fire Departments.
      For more information about the project or if you have questions, please visit the website at:
www.jpstc-chicago.com.