From the CEO

Running, walking, biking, and rolling into 2024

With the holiday season behind us, it’s been wonderful seeing so many new and familiar faces around the IMD. This is the time of year for self-improvement, trying new things, making healthier decisions, ditching the sweet treats, and stepping on the scale for the first time in months — then promptly hitting the gym!

February always touches my heart in more ways than one. First, let me wish everyone a Happy Black History Month! We’re spending the month elevating our IMD partners doing great work, spreading the word about Black history, and amplifying issues that matter to the Black community, so keep an eye on our social media for more throughout the month. February is also important for another reason (and I don’t mean Valentine’s Day): American Heart Month.

All throughout February, organizations across the nation mobilize to raise awareness about healthy behaviors that can have a big impact on protecting #OurHearts. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, and it can often be prevented. We’re always learning more about how our actions impact our heart health, and while every body is different, we can say with some certainty that making even small changes or adjustments to your lifestyle can make a big difference in your heart health. These can be simple, from trying to get more sleep, to managing your stress levels, or just being more active. For resources to share with your team about American Heart Month, click here.

IMD Run & Walk Group kick-off on January 30.

IMD Run & Walk Group kick-off on January 30.

In that spirit, the IMD Commission is sprinting into 2024 with a focus on wellness, offering the IMD community inclusive fitness options and spreading the word about our fitness centers. We kicked off our IMD Run & Walk Group on January 30 at Precision Human Performance and are meeting every Tuesday at 5 p.m. We are also adding a new lunch time meet up in the IMD on Tuesdays, so join the Facebook Group to start making new connections and stay in the loop about upcoming activities we’re planning, including the Chicago Lighthouse Rise to Shine Run & Walk happening again this October in the IMD. The next day on January 31 we toured the Rush Fitness Center located in the IMD. They recently opened registration to all and it’s wonderful having a new fitness option in the IMD. As a special offer for the IMD community, they are waiving the registration fee through March, so contact them to learn more.

Fitness center interior

CEO and Executive Director Allyson Hansen tours the Rush Fitness Center in the IMD.

In addition to staying active, another factor that we know helps mitigate heart risks is access to public green spaces and recreational facilities. That’s why on January 30 we were thrilled be awarded a $600,000 matching grant from the State of Illinois to support the health and well-being of the IMD community by expanding and improving our parks. These public dollars will immediately be put to use helping to realize some long-standing public needs in the IMD so our community can have the accessible recreational facilities they need to stay healthy. We are also planning what the rest of the year looks like in the IMD whether you walk, bike, or roll — which will start with a public rollout of our Bike and Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (BPSAP) soon, so keep an eye out for more information about that.

United Center will host the 2024 DNC from August 19-22.

It’s less than 200 days until Chicago hosts the 2024 Democratic National Convention at the United Center just north of the IMD. Chicago and the IMD will welcome thousands of new journalists, delegates, and dignitaries from around the world that week, and our team has been hard at work since last year developing ways the IMD and our partners can leave visitors with a positive lasting impression. I’m excited to share more about those plans in the spring, and even more excited for you to see them for yourself in August. Without spoiling anything, I will only say that they will be hard to miss.

Enjoy reading the rest of this issue and hearing more about the great work of our partners. I remain as inspired as ever to be a part of the IMD community and look forward to seeing all the great things your organizations accomplish in 2024. As always, please remember to shop local and support our businesses doing great work in and around the IMD. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Happy Match Day, and I’ll see you at a run and walk soon!


Allyson Hansen

CEO and Executive Director


New in the IMD

IMDC awarded $600,000 grant to improve public parks and recreation projects

Illinois Department of Natural Resources logo.

On January 30, the IMD Commission (IMDC) was proud to receive notice that we were awarded a $600,000 matching grant from the State of Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to improve our public parks and recreational opportunities for the IMD community.

“Since day one as Governor, it’s been my mission to support the health and well-being of Illinoisans,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “With [these funds] municipalities across Illinois will have the opportunity to expand and improve local neighborhood parks through sport and recreational space, plants, playgrounds, and more. All across Illinois, we’re enhancing our state’s natural beauty and creating safer, healthier, and happier communities.”

Green space at W Harrison St and S Wood St that houses the Louis Pasteur Statue in the IMD.

“An investment in the outdoors is an investment in the health and well-being of the people of Illinois,” said IDNR Director Natalie Phelps Finnie.We know that 83% of Illinoisans consider access to outdoor recreational opportunities important for them and their families. And studies show time and again that that getting outside leads to better overall health.”

We extend our sincerest thank you to the State of Illinois and IDNR for these funds that will go a long way toward making big improvements to the available green space and recreational amenities in the IMD. Stay tuned for more information about how we intend put these dollars to good use in the IMD this year.

Match Day housing deals in the IMD

It’s just one month until Match Day 2024 and it’s never been easier or more enjoyable to live in and around the IMD where you work or study. Check out some of the housing deals below or reach out to the property directly for more information.


Apartment living room with couch, carpet, windows open.

Atrio interior.

The Atrio is offering up to a $400 credit and preferred employer specials for new residents.



Apartment interior, white walls, sunny day.

Cadence apartments interior.

Cadence is offering discounts for new residents and encourages people to contact them to learn more.


The Lydian

Modern apartment building interior with rug and chairs.

The Lydian interior.

The Lydian is offering 2 months free, a $500 credit and additional $500 preferred employer credit for new residents.

  • Phone: 872-216-3950
  • Email:
  • Website:


The Thompson

The Thompson apartments interior, gray couches with large windows and modern finishes.

The Thompson interior.

The Thompson is a new housing development north of the IMD and is offering 2 months free, a $500 credit and additional $500 preferred employer credit for new residents.


New fitness options in the IMD

IMD Walk & Run Group

IMD Run & Walk Group logo.

On January 30, we were excited to kick-off the IMD Run & Walk Group for 2024! We’ve partnered with Precision Human Performance (PHP), West Central Association (WCA) and The Chicago Lighthouse to bring this free inclusive fitness opportunity to the IMD community.

We learned a lot last year, listened to your feedback, and are excited to announce new improvements including:

  • New Identity: We have a logo and branding that reflect our diverse IMD community.
  • New Facebook Group: Join the group and build community with each other and the organizers.
  • New Locations: Our after work meet up location will remain PHP and we’re announcing our new lunch time meet up location in the IMD soon!
  • New Partners: Keep an eye on our social channels or join the Facebook Group as we announce new partners throughout the year.
  • New Events: We’re organizing teams for the Shamrock Shuffle and looking for new events to attend!
  • Special Events: Some of our runs and walks will be organized around themes, like Social Worker Appreciation on 3/26.
  • More Fun: When we meet up at PHP, after we head next door to The Barn Hockey Bar to refuel and share some laughs!

The group refuels next door at The Barn Hockey Bar.

How to get involved:

  • Join us at a Run & Walk, every Tuesday, at noon (location TBD) and 5 p.m. at Precision Human Performance, 1613 W Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60612.
  • Join the Facebook Group or share a social post with your friends and colleagues.
  • Contact Noe Symonanis, Director of Marketing and Communications, at to inquire about getting involved as an organizer or sponsor a special event.

See you in the streets!

Rush Fitness Center

Rush Fitness Center interior.

A new fitness facility has opened its doors to the IMD community! On January 31, we toured the Rush Fitness Center located right here in the IMD.

Previously for Rush staff and students, last year they opened their doors to all, and as a special offer for the IMD community they are offering no registration fee through March.

Rush Fitness Center interior with machines.

They have treadmills, ellipticals, free weights, a fitness studio, locker rooms with showers, classes and trainers available. They are open M-F from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

  • Phone: 312-947-BFIT
  • Email: 
  • Address: 711 S Paulina St, Chicago, IL 60612


Giving Back: Growing Solutions Farm, Metro Edge x iMasons

Growing Solutions Farm hoop house now heated

Growing Solutions Farm Hoop House exterior.

Let there be heat! Growing Solutions Farm (GSF) from Urban Autism Solutions (UAS) is excited to announce that their hoop house now has heat.

This improvement was made possible through generous contributions from Mike Underdown, CEO and President at Crosstown Fiber and Tim Hayes, the Operations Manager at Jules Madison. It’s no easy feat to trench lines for gas and electric utilities, particularly when the electrical lines must run the entire farm length – that’s up to 240 feet. But starting in October 2023 when GSF programming was winding down, Tim Hayes, Jim Raymond of Integrated Electric, and their crew spent the next few months laboring at this tremendous task. 

From left: Mike Simon, Maura McCarthy, Allyson Hansen, Timothy Hayes, Michael Underdown.

And they took care of everything. They handled scheduling, permits, transportation of heavy materials, communication with utility communications, electrical work, along with all other requirements this job demanded. As the magnitude of this project took its toll on the property, another partner was brought in to take care of that as well. The team at Plum Valley Landscaping stepped in and generously contributed their services to ensure that the GSF land looked better than before.

Fresh produce growing in the hoop house.

Tucker Kelly, the GSF Operations Manager, said that having a heated hoop house is a game changer in the world of urban farming. “It means being able to use our hoop house year-round for both programming and production.” And there’s an additional advantage an extended growing season offers students as well. “We’ll be able to start our own seeds for our own transplanted crops,” says Tucker, noting this was a skillset GSF was unable to explore due to lack of facilities. But with the addition of heat, they’re currently in the process of building seed starting stations and a water catchment system, and directly seeding crops for early spring for this exact purpose.

We look forward to picking up some fresh produce from GSF for years (and yearlong) to come! Charitable giving from these champions was the catalyst for expansion of GSF programming and impact. Read more about the project here. To directly support GSF you can donate here or contact them at

Metro Edge partners with Infrastructure Masons to support the next generation of data workers

Render of Metro Edge IMD1 data center with proposed community art wall.

Can a data center be a catalyst for generational change? That’s what Metro Edge Development Partners (Metro Edge) has partnered with Infrastructure Masons (iMasons) to bring to the IMD and our surrounding communities with IMD1, their flagship data center.

“It has always been our objective to be not just in the community but of the community,” said Craig Huffman, Co-Founder and CEO of Metro Edge. Metro Edge is a minority business enterprise (MBE) commercial real estate development firm focused on high-impact, technology-driven developments primarily to support underserved communities. Integrating a social impact plan into this mission is critical to being both in the community, as well as of the community.

“In providing a tangible connection between community, education and opportunity, this partnership between iMasons and Metro Edge can be the rising tide that lifts all ships,” said Courtney Popp, Director of Education Programs. “Our goal is to improve lives and landscapes by outlining pathways from classroom to career without ever forcing the choice between community and opportunity.”

Render of Metro Edge IMD1 data center interior.

iMasons provides scholarships, training, educational curriculum, and professional certifications with a specific focus on retaining local talent in underserved communities. Creating pathways for talented young Chicagoans to pursue careers in digital infrastructure and having a strong pipeline of local, highly trained talent will be critical to keep our city competitive in a rapidly digitizing world.

To learn more about iMasons, click here, or contact Courtney Popp, Director of Education Programs, at