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New Metra Station Closer to Construction

Oak Forest alderman Tuesday signed off an agreement that ensures funds are in place for the construction of a new Metra Station near the corner of 159th and Cicero.

Commuters' dreams of a new Metra station in Oak Forest are closer to becoming reality. 

officials Tuesday approved an agreement that ensures funding for the nearly $3.3 project is in place, Dotson said. With Metra's approval, construction could begin in November.

The groundbreaking on the new station—which will include a warming shelter, restrooms and indoor/outdoor seating—has been delayed multiple times, as the City waits for funding to become accessible. An agreement with the Commuter Rail Division of the Regional Transportation Authority, and Metra's approval of the agreement, secures the funding, said Community Development Director Adam Dotson. 

"We are getting close," Dotson said. "It feels like a marathon, and we're at mile 15 right now."

Of the project's cost, an estimated $1 million will come from the City, with an additional $1 million from the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, and $1.3 from the Illinois Department of Transportation. The agreement with the RTA guarantees that Metra will reimburse Oak Forest throughout the construction process, as the City pays contractors. 

"No matter what Metra's perogatives are, at the end of the day we're going to have a great station for the corner of 159th and Cicero," said Community Development Director Adam Dotson. "It will be a great asset." 

Once complete, Oak Forest will not own the station, but will have to maintain it. Ald. Laura Clemons (1st) said she prefers that the City be responsible for the upkeep, as it's easier to enforce in-house. 

"Consistency is a good thing," said Alderman Laura Clemons. 

The new 1,700-square-foot station will be built near the current depot, which dates back to the 1960s. The current facility will remain open while the new station is under construction. 

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Ruth Ensing August 31, 2012 at 04:16 PM
I am anxious to see a new train station here and think it will greatly improve this area. However, the weeds and disrepair of the fence at the northeast corner of 159 & Cicero has to be addressed. Either the developer or the city HAS to clean this up particularly when over $3 million will be soon be spent on this corner. We should not have to accept any excuses for this mess.
Mike Ziak August 31, 2012 at 07:10 PM
And on July 30th, there was an article, here on The Patch, that said construction bids were to be opened on August 7th and construction would start in late August/early September. Now its a possible November start? Why the delay?
Lauren Traut (Editor) August 31, 2012 at 07:34 PM
The City was waiting for the allocated funds to become available, Mike. This agreement should guarantee that that will happen. Now, they just need Metra's final approval. It's definitely been a long process, with a few false starts, but hopefully this start date will go as planned.

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