Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th) is resigning from City Council to join Cinespace Chicago, the center of Chicago’s TV and film industries.
Scott will be the movie studio’s director of Industry and Community Relations. Cinespace is one of the biggest companies in North Lawndale, Scott’s home neighborhood. Most of the campus is in Ald. Jason Ervin’s 28th Ward but parts are in Scott’s ward.
Cinespace has had several initiatives meant to benefit the community, including the Cinecares film industry workforce program and the company’s partnership in the Ogden Commons mixed-use medical center and affordable housing project.
Upon joining Cinespace, Scott will lead the studio’s early education programs, job training initiatives and other projects meant to benefit the community.
The move comes about seven months after Scott criticized Cinespace for failing to give residents enough notice about filming on their blocks. The new role will focus on bringing “meaningful impact to our community,” the alderman said in a news release.
Scott announced his resignation from his City Council May 24 after seven years in office.
He told Block Club he’s leaving to pursue other endeavors and spend more time with his family. June 3 will be his last day on the job.
Scott said he’s enjoyed “every moment” of serving the 24th Ward, which includes North Lawndale and parts of parts of West Garfield Park and South Austin on the city’s West Side. But over the course of the pandemic, he’s realized he wants to prioritize his family.
“I was just talking to Ald. [Anthony] Beale and we were talking about families, and the rigors of the job … doesn’t leave much time for our family,” Scott said. “I’ve enjoyed every moment of serving the community that has given me so much … but it would be selfish of me not to pursue this opportunity and spend a little more time with my children and wife.”
Scott has a teenage daughter and two young sons. His wife, Natashee, was pregnant with his son when he campaigned for his first term.
“I’ve been an alderman his entire life,” Scott said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has 60 days to name a replacement to Scott’s post. Scott said he expects a “couple of folks” from his organization will apply to be appointed.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said.
Scott has been a key ally to Lightfoot, and during his run as alderman, City Hall poured unprecedented public dollars into developments within his ward.
Notably, the Silver Shovel project at Roosevelt and Kostner became a focal project of the mayor’s signature INVEST South/West initiative. The once-toxic dump is being redeveloped into a $38 million manufacturing complex and innovation center aimed at being an economic engine for North Lawndale after decades of neglect.
Other large investments ushered into North Lawndale under Scott’s tenure include the Grace Manor affordable housing project and the Ogden Commons outpatient medical and surgical center, which will include affordable housing, a bank, a children’s museum, a grocery store, restaurants and retail space.