Senator Pacione-Zayas

SPRINGFIELD – To center and support the power of the Polish community in Chicago, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) is sponsoring a measure to designate Milwaukee Avenue from Sangamon Street in Chicago to Greenwood Road in Niles as the Milwaukee Avenue Polish Heritage Corridor.

“Polish communities have always had a large impact on the Chicago area, even far beyond their unique and recognizable cultural touchstones like food and the arts. Their local businesses have historically anchored neighborhoods and sustained local social and economic development,” Pacione-Zayas said. “I remain firmly committed that stronger communities means a stronger Illinois. We in Springfield will continue to innovate and construct public policy to that end.”

Under House Bill 5581, a section of Milwaukee Avenue will be recognized under the Illinois Department of Transportation as the Milwaukee Avenue Polish Heritage Corridor.

Last year, Sen. Pacione-Zayas, along with House Assistant Majority Leader Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) passed a law that allows the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to designate cultural districts to help affirm the identity of communities in Illinois. HB 5581 provides a stepping stone for this community to be designated in this way.

“My hope is that this is only the first step in showing up for the Polish community through concrete designation,” Pacione-Zayas said. “I hope to work with Polish communities and institutions in my district, like the Polish American Chamber of Commerce, to further recognize and empower these communities.”

HB 5581 passed the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday.