OUR PHILOSOPHY

PLACE Consulting helps make neighborhoods and cities better, and equips and supports chambers of commerce and economic development corporations to do their important work more powerfully and efficiently. 

We engage community stakeholders through processes that are transparent, credible and results-oriented. PLACE increases local capacity through the process, recognizing that all communities have assets that can be built upon to create improved community economics that benefit all.

PLACE Consulting is committed to fostering People, Livability, Accessibility, Community and Economic development.


Team

Our firm is unique in that many of the people associated with PLACE are or have been community development practitioners; we understand the work that economic development organizations and chambers of commerce do and the importance of honoring the input of local stakeholders while delivering practical and realistic plans and products. We are a small firm and therefore can be nimble and responsive to our clients’ needs.


KIMBERLY BARES,

PRESIDENT

Kimberly has more than 20 years’ experience leading nonprofit organizations and is the leading expert on BIDs (SSAs) in Chicago. She has served as Executive Director of four organizations in Chicago and Baltimore, working in diverse communities with varying constituencies. Her professional background has provided her with expertise in affordable housing development, community organizing, TIFs, BIDs, commercial district planning, strategic planning, Board development and fundraising. Kimberly has had direct involvement and accountability for the creation, management or administration of forty Special Service Areas and four Tax Increment Financing districts. She has extensive experience in community outreach, and enjoys looking for ways to make community participation fun and rewarding.  She is addicted to traveling, hot yoga, and karaoke. 


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GINA CARUSO,

VICE PRESIDENT OF SPECIAL PROJECTS

Gina brings a unique understanding of business districts with a proven track record of results from her background in economic development, urban planning, real estate, and small businesses.  She specializes in neighborhood economic development and leverages her referral network to support the success of her clients.  Clients benefit from Gina's understanding of their goals and finding strategic and creative solutions for them through sound data, listening, and insights' into clients' communities and organizations.

Career highlights include:

  • transforming the City of Chicago's Business Improvement District (BID) program, known as Special Service Areas (SSAs), from an underutilized tool to the nation's second largest BID portfolio

  • supporting the success of 70+ business organizations in over 60 Chicago neighborhoods as Assistant Commissioner with the City of Chicago

  • implementing innovative and sustainable programming as the Executive Director of the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce/SSA #8

  • developing land use and master plans as a City Planner with The Lakota Group

In addition to services as Vice President of Special Projects at PLACE Consulting, Gina represents landlords and tenants as a Broker Associate with The Lord Companies LLC, a developer/broker firm specializing in urban infill and adaptive reuse projects in Chicago.  Gina is a published author and sought-after presenter at juried conferences and professional events.  She is an avid traveler, foodie, and runner.


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Kara Riggio,

Manager, Community Initiatives

Kara is a place-based community engagement expert with 10+ years of experience in project management and complex planning initiatives. She focuses her work with stakeholders and government leaders on issues related to neighborhood vibrancy and public space. While at the Metropolitan Planning Council, she managed Great Rivers Chicago, a robust community planning effort for Chicago’s 150+ miles of riverfront. Kara’s research has equipped communities across the city with tools to take on their own community development initiatives. Kara is a member of Project for Public Spaces’ Placemaking Leadership Council and has served as president of her local park advisory council. Kara’s focus with PLACE Consulting is on community engagement and outreach initiatives that authentically foster local involvement in community building and development. Kara’s previous experience includes five years of teaching in public schools in Bethesda, MD and Chicago, IL at the elementary and high school levels. She is a proud graduate of UIC’s Master of Urban Planning Program and was a Fulbright-Hayes Scholar in Washington, DC and China through Howard University after completing her Bachelor’s degree at University of Maryland, College Park.


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Anthony Pelikan,

Associate

Tony uses his wide range of private and public-sector experience to deliver data-driven solutions. He develops new data visualization and delivery techniques to help clients more efficiently tackle the challenges they face.  As a GIS-expert, Tony has developed web-based mapping tools that enable Business Improvement Districts to more efficiently manage their programs and inventory and amplify their impact. He is always looking for new ways to use data, maps and analytics to learn more about the world around us and provide meaningful, measurable value for clients and stakeholders.  Tony is a self-professed urban planning and craft beer nerd.

 

Memberships

We are affiliated with the following organizations: