The City of Oak Forest is set to break ground on a long-anticipated, brand new Metra station on Thursday, Oct. 25. The new station will be located in nearly the same spot as the current Oak Forest Metra Station, 4850 W. 159th Street, although it will offer substantially more to commuters upon its completion.
“The kiss-and-ride area, where there is a looped drive, that is where the new train station will be,” said Oak Forest Community Development Director Adam Dotson.
The new station will feature a warming shelter, bike parking and lockers, bathroom facilities, and indoor and outdoor seating areas for commuters.
Construction costs for the new station will total more than $3 million, with the city footing $1.07 million of the bill. The remaining funding will come from state and federal grants the city has secured.
“At the end of the day, for every dollar the city is putting into this project, we're getting two dollars in grant money,” Dotson said. “I don't think there's a better way to seek funding and come back from it than this.”
The station is the first step in what Mayor Hank Kuspa said could be a revitalization of the area.
“Oak Forest commuters have been waiting a long time for a quality train station,” Kuspa said in a press release. “I think this is just the beginning. This train station is just what we need to revitalize our efforts in creating a dynamic, transit-oriented development in this area.”
Dotson echoed Kuspa's statements during the Oak Forest City Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 23.
“I think this is a great opportunity for our city,” Dotson said. “To see some things happen at the train station location that we've always wanted to see happen and I can tell you that there are some opportunities coming up. As we see this construction happen with the train station, things will continue to progress at that location.”
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