As a family-owned business for over 100 years, Mars, Incorporated is driven by the belief that “the world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today.” The Mars Five Principles – Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency, and Freedom – inspire the company to take action every day to help create a world in which the planet, people, and pets can thrive. Mars believes it can only be truly successful if their partners and the communities in which they operate prosper as well.
Earlier this year, Mars announced the decision to move operations from its site, located at 2019 N Oak Park Ave, Chicago, IL 60707, to other facilities in the U.S. over the next two years. The site will remain up and running until sometime in 2024. It is this commitment to community that led Mars to also announce the donation of the 81,000 sq meter/20-acre site, and partner with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC-Chicago) to support the community engagement process.
This Mars site has served as an anchor for several Chicago west-side neighborhoods and communities and has enjoyed being a good neighbor during its 90+ years of operation. Mars would like to see its legacy of providing benefit to the community, and being a good neighbor, remain well into the future and is actively working with LISC-Chicago, community partners, and the City of Chicago to consider the best possible future for the historic site.
Currently, a co-design team comprised of Mars Associates and representatives of community groups including Austin Coming Together, Galewood Neighbors, and Northwest Center have been working for two months to co-create a broad-based community engagement process that will allow local residents to help inform decision making on the future use of the site. The group is being facilitated by LISC-Chicago and Collaborative Connections and is committed to a community engagement process that is (1) Intentional and inclusive on how and who is being engaged, (2) Transparent & accountable to the community, (3) Open to innovative ideas, (4) Inviting of contributions from all, and (5) Respectful of all who participate.
The co-design team has spent the past few months actively thinking of the above structure and looks forward to opening the conversation to our local community members moving forward. The 5 community engagement sessions will take place on the following dates/locations/times. We ask that folks who plan on coming register so we can appropriately accommodate the size of the group.
Community Planning Session I
Date and Time: Wednesday, August 31st from 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Location: Virtual – details provided upon registering
Key Focus: Understanding the Scope of the Site + Opportunity
Community Planning Session II
Date and Time: Tuesday, September 13th from 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Virtual – details provided upon registering
Key Focus: Weaving together the History of the Site, the Surrounding Neighborhoods and Chicago at Large
Community Planning Session III
Date and Time: Saturday, September 24th from 9:30 – 12:00 PM
Location: Sayre Language Academy 1850 N Newland Ave, Chicago, IL 60707
Key Focus: Visioning for the key characteristics we want the future of the site to hold
Community Engagement Session IV
Date and Time:
Saturday, October 8th from 9:30 – 12:00 PMLocation: Austin Town Hall
– 5610 W. Lake St. Chicago, IL 60644Key Focus:
Reviewing our vision + options put forth and aligning around a few optionsCommunity Engagement Session VDate and Time:
Wednesday, October 19th 6:00 – 8:30 PM Location:
Belmont Cragin Elementary School Gym - 6112 W Fullerton, Chicago, IL 60639 (at Riis Park).Key Focus:
Distillation, Recommendations + Next Steps
Although each session will have a different focus, it is not required to attend all of them. There will be adequate processing time to explain the journey to date at the front end of each session, and the design is scaffolded so that each meeting will build upon the discoveries of the previous one. The sessions are deliberately a mix of weeknights and weekends, virtual and in person to attempt to make sure anyone who is interested can attend at least one meeting.
Mars very much looks forward to hearing from the community in order to reach the best possible decision for the Chicago site. If you are interested in participating in the community meetings, and receiving updates, please register here
. We look forward to your engagement in the coming weeks, and please direct any questions to LISC-Chicago@lisc.org
Austin Coming Together