29th Ward Alderman Chris Taliaferro campaigns on the 800 north block of Parkside on Thursday March 23, 2023 | Todd A Bannor

Ald. Chris Taliaferro, who has represented residents of the 29th Ward in the City Council since 2015, wants to continue to build on the ward’s economic infrastructure, improve public safety and expand mental health services. In next week’s runoff, residents will decide if the former Chicago Police Department sergeant gets that opportunity as he faces a run off against community organizer C.B. Johnson. 

The 29th ward alderman said he will keep pushing for business development and growth, adding he will continue to encourage the use of city grants from programs like the Neighborhood Opportunity Program and Invest South/West. He also wants to educate  local residents about funds that are available through Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts and Small Business Improvement Funds (SBIF). 

“In 2023, we will begin the construction and development of the Aspire Center, 40 Acres Fresh Market and Rush Healthcare,” he said. “Each of these projects will create an economic engine that will provide contracting opportunities, employment and neighborhood stability.” 

To improve public safety, Taliaferro wants to facilitate a better relationship between the community and police. To do so, he plans to support stronger block clubs throughout the ward and to engage with them to discuss the crimes and concerns that affect their area. He also plans to support “advancing methods of policing” through the use of a combined technology-based and community-based approached.

Working with the newly elected police district councils is also key, Taliaferro said. The chair of the city’s public safety committee said he will support them, adding he hopes to have regular meetings with the ward’s district councils to discuss public safety. 

“I will seek their advice to also create legislation to improve police and community relationships,” he said. 

Engaging with youth from a holistic approach is also a priority. He said he will create a youth community council, vying to help expand mental health access and education for the ward’s youth. Last week, former contender Corey Dooley said he endorsed Taliaferro after he “committed” to working with Dooley to develop a ward student youth council to give young people “a seat at the table.” 

To that end, Taliaferro said it is his goal to engage with all residents to address their concerns and needs. He wants to hold neighborhood in-person meetings and continue to discuss individual and community concerns through the weekly ward nights his office hosts. 

“I sincerely love the residents of this ward,” Taliaferro said. “Serving them has been a blessing and has been never taken for granted.”