Government / Infrastructure

In From the Cold: Maywood Breaks Ground on New Metra Station

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Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins, center, with Donald A. Orseno, Metra’s executive director and CEO, during a Nov. 7 groundbreaking ceremony for a new train depot at the village’s 5th Avenue Metra stop. Numerous trustees, along with state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) attended. | Shanel Romain/VFP | Below left: An architectural rendering of the proposed Metra stop. | Christopher Burke Engineering

StationMonday, November 7, 2016 || By Shanel Romain || @maywoodnews

On Monday, Maywood officials broke ground on a train depot to be built at the 5th Avenue Metra station in the village.

The station has been in the works since at least 2011, when the village applied for a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) grant to secure funds for the station’s construction.

Around $1.5 million of the roughly $2.3 million project will be paid for with CMAQ funding, while roughly $900,000 will be paid for with escrow funds from the expired St. Charles TIF fund.

Last August, after provoking residents’ outrage over plans to move the proposed Metra station from 5th Ave. to 9th Ave., Union Pacific Rail Road (UP) and Metra officials reverted to the original proposed 5th Ave. location.

At the Nov. 7 groundbreaking ceremony, Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins lauded the fact that the shelter was finally becoming a reality.

“This is a long time overdue,” said Perkins. “We’re moving forward. When the people get a mind to work, change will come. This is change.”

Village officials said they’re shooting for a January 2017 completion date for the shelter. Work has already started to convert land near the proposed train depot into free commuter parking.

“This will be an enclosed, heated shelter, so commuters will have protection from the elements,” said Demetrios Skoufis, a government affairs official with Metra.

“It will also feature some space that could possibly provide economic development opportunities,” he said.

Maywood Village Manager Willie Norfleet, Jr., said that he envisions the depot as part of more comprehensive development in the area.

“We’re hoping this becomes a much more welcoming scenario,” said Norfleet of the 5th Ave. area, which has historically considered the heart of Maywood’s downtown.

“We’re improving the parking lot across the street [from the Metra stop] and Maywood Fine Arts just built their dance studio,” Norfleet said. “When people get off at Maywood, they’re going to be getting the best and the newest scenario.” VFP

Michael Romain contributed to this story.

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Above, middle: Don Orseno speaks with Louis Baumann, the co-founder of Maywood Fine Arts and shakes hands with Trustee Henderson Yarbrough, third from bottom. Bottom, in a few months, the bus shelter at the 5th Ave. Metra stop will be replaced by a depot. Efforts are already underway to convert a village-owned parking lot into free commuter spaces. | Shanel Romain/VFP

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