History of the BDC

In the 1970's, the Berwyn Business Development Commission (Commission) was established by a group of civic-minded business owners for the purpose of creating a better Berwyn. The commission's efforts were focused on land development and local business promotion. Among these efforts, the "Better to Buy and Save in Berwyn" campaign was launched. This was a unified effort by Berwyn business owners to display decals and promote business. However, budget constraints limited the reach of the organization.

After more than a decade of research into growing the scope of the organization, the Commission founded a Local Development Corporation in 1983, and thus, the BDC was born. The BDC's first official meeting was held in February 1984. As the organization matured, it became clear that funding would need to be secured at the local level in order to bring development projects to fruition. In 1987, the Cermak Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district was established, and by the end of the summer 1988, the BDC had received 501(c)(3) status. Eventually the other three commercial corridors established TIF districts, including Ogden Avenue (1993), the Depot (1997), and Roosevelt Road (1997). The Board's tripartite goal for these districts was to increase real estate tax revenue, sales tax revenue, and employment opportunities.

The BDC evolved out of the vision of a group of concerned citizens, and by bringing that  vision to the table, those founders launched a movement that has improved the Berwyn community. Our momentum has been a result of each generation of residents and business owners maintaining that original vision and sense of cooperation. Though the faces and products may have changed over the years, the mission has remained the same.

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