Illinois State Senate District 16 issued the following announcement on Sept. 30.
Metra representatives broke ground on a new train station at 79th Street and South Lowe Avenue this Monday morning after State Senator Jacqueline Collins successfully secured state funding for the facility.
Speaking during a groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site of the planned station in the northeastern part of the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, Collins said the station represents a new investment in the community.
“I join with my neighbors, other elected officials and many civic leaders in looking forward with joy and hope to the construction and opening of the new station,” Collins said. “I sincerely believe that in years to come we will view this investment as a turning point in the renewal of this Southside neighborhood, whose flourishing will enrich us all.”
The facility at Auburn Park has been in the planning stages for years, with Metra originally seeking to fund it with proceeds from two state bond programs from 2009. However, that funding was held up in the state’s budget woes and then cut in 2017. Since funding was restored with Collins’ help, the state has released $20 million for the new station’s construction.
The project’s design phase is expected to be finished by the end of 2019, with bidding to begin in 2020.
Good morning. On behalf of the residents of Auburn Gresham and all of the Southside communities I have the privilege of serving, I am excited and hopeful as we embark on this project. The Auburn Park Metra station will be more than an added convenience to commuters. It holds the promise of economic renaissance for this hard-hit area and a literal as well as powerfully symbolic connection between this proud, recovering community and the rest of the great City of Chicago.
This station is also a crucial step in the direction of equalizing infrastructure investment across all our communities. The 79th Street bus line is the city's busiest, and the project announced today will finally connect this vital transit artery via Metra to points north, south and southwest.
The announcement is about redressing historical imbalances and doing right by an underserved community and an untapped market. Metra's decision makes perfect sense for the people of the South Side, long-term transit planning for the Chicago metropolitan area and Metra's own business interests and organizational goals.
The people of Auburn Gresham and adjoining communities deserve this opportunity, and the people of Chicago deserve a public transit network that knits out city together, enables movement and growth and leaves no one out. I want to thank Metra's Executive Director and CEA Jim Derwinski for his commitment to this project and our partnership in working to have the workforce reflect this community.
I join my neighbors, other elected officials and the many civic leaders in looking forward with joy and hope to the construction and opening of the new station. I sincerely believe that in years to come we will view this investment as a turning point in the renewal of this Southside neighborhood, whose flourishing will enrich us all.
Original source can be found here.