The 27th Ward

Our goal is to reveal the total TIF impacts for Chicago on a ward-by-ward basis. This has never been done before. Why? Because people don’t “live” in a TIF district. That is, if you ask people where they live, they are likely to answer “I live in Garfield Park” or “I live in the 27th Ward.” If you ask people, “How are things in the Kinzie Industrial Corridor TIF District?” we’re pretty sure the answer would be a blank stare.

People’s mental maps are about a community or political district – they can relate their situation on the ground to a map of a place or district. And they know who to complain to if they feel something is not right in their neighborhood. In Chicago, that tends to be the Alderman who represents the ward.

So we’d like to start this process with the 27th Ward.

The 27th Ward is on Chicago’s Near North side and goes west to the Garfield Park community. The Alderman is Walter Burnett, Jr.  There are 12 TIFs that go through the 27th Ward – in fact about 77% of the ward is in one TIF or another. Download a map of the ward.

Here is a map of the ward showing how these 12 TIFs overlap it. [Download a PDF]

12 TIFs crisscross the 27th Ward.

Here is a table showing how much each TIF intrudes into the ward. [Download this table]

We were able to get several sets of data to show how much property tax was extracted from the 27th Ward in 2011 by these 12 TIFs. Read more about that here.

  • Bottom line: In 2011 these 12 TIFs extracted $36,841,258 from the 27th Ward.
  • In 2011 all the TIFs in Chicago extracted a total of $454 million from the 163 TIF districts across the city. The 27th Ward contributed %8 of that total.
  • These 12 TIFs have co-existed for 9 years. In that time they extracted $255,188,933 in property taxes from the ward.
  • At the end of 2011 these 12 TIFs had a total of $398,514,266 in their unspent Fund Balances.
  • We calculate that of that total, $62,094,478 “belonged” or came from the 27th Ward.
  • Through 2010, as near as we can tell, a total of $192,869.949 in TIF funded projects RETURNED to the ward.
  • Of the TIF total dollars returned to the ward, only 42% went to public projects, or $81,650,324. The rest went to commercial projects, $89,459,040 and private nonprofit projects, $21,760,585.

Here is the finished graphic designed by Carlyn So to show how TIFs impact the 27th Ward.

We added data about the 2013 Chicago public school closings and budget cuts to our data. The combined picture for the 27th Ward looks like this:


No one else can tell Chicagoans how TIFs are impacting their communities. Please make a deductible contribution via our fiscal agent, the Investigative News Network.

Here is the presentation plus audio on what we discovered about the 12 TIFs in the 27th Ward (1 hour, 25 min)

Visit our online data store to purchase the 27th ward presentation and any of our Illuminations.

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