CHICAGO, IL – The South East Chicago Commission has announced Roderick “Rod” Sawyer as the new Program Manager of Special Service Area #61 (Downtown Hyde Park Chicago). Sawyer will oversee aspects of the vitality and development of the business district, marketing initiatives and streetscape maintenance to help the business district flourish.

“After an extensive search, the SECC was thrilled to bring Rod onto the team. With over 30+ years of Hyde Park experience as a resident, entrepreneur and volunteer, Rod is the perfect person to support the needs of Downtown Hyde Park Chicago’s business district. I am certain his passion for the community will bring a new vibe that embraces the history and sustainability of the community,” said Diane Burnham, SECC’s Executive Director.

Rod Sawyer is a long time resident of Hyde Park, and has been very involved in the Hyde Park community in education with the formation of the Mariam Canter feeder middle school (now Kenwood Academy Academic Center), a member and past board member of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, a member of the 53rd Street Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Council, Book Sale Manager for the Hyde Park/Kenwood Community Conference’s Used Book Sale, and Technical/Operations Consultant for the Chicago Hyde Park Village. As a community member, Sawyer is actively involved in qualify of life and public safety initiatives within the community.

“This feels like a homecoming of sorts, and is a dream opportunity for me,” says Sawyer, who, along with his wife Brenda, are long-term residents of Hyde Park. The Sawyers raised two children in the neighborhood.

SSA #61, branded as Downtown Hyde Park Chicago, is a local tax district that funds expanded services and programs through a localized property tax levy within a specific footprint. Downtown Hyde Park Chicago includes only the areas contributing to the commercial tax levy, which is comprised of the 53rd and 55th Street corridors connected by Lake Park Avenue.

SSA-funded projects typically include but are not limited to: public way maintenance and beautification; district marketing; business retention/attraction; and other commercial and economic development initiatives.

The South East Chicago Commission (SECC) is the local non-profit Service Provider for SSA #61 and SSA Commissioners oversee and recommend the annual services, budget, and Service Provider Agency to the City.

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