Clarendon Hills group seeks to derail any train station plans
The Clarendon Hills Metra commuter station will be part of the new downtown plan, even though officials this year rejected a renovation project.
Updated: November 9, 2012 7:46AM
CLARENDON HILLS — Citizens for Clarendon Hills, a group of village residents initially formed to oppose a March referendum seeking home rule, now wants a Village Board vote to officially reject a train station redevelopment plan.
The group asked for the formal rejection after Village President Tom Karaba said Oct. 15 the plan for train station redevelopment has been “put to bed.”
Having a study done for redevelopment of the train station was a major part of the village’s Downtown Plan, which was adopted in 2006.
A study resulted in original plans for a three-story parking deck, a two-story retail/office building that would house the train station, and a pedestrian underpass that would allow people to get from north of the railroad tracks to the station without walking across tracks.
That plan was scaled back considerably because of market conditions to include the underpass and some aesthetic improvements. Trustees never approved any plan.
While the board now has no intention of pursuing the redevelopment, it also has no plan to vote on a formal rejection, Village Manager Randy Recklaus said.
“We don’t affirm negatives,” he said. “We wouldn’t vote saying we don’t want a development.”
Recklaus said village staff would continue to seek grant money to pay for infrastructure improvements for the train station. The village recently received a $100,000 grant from West Suburban Mass Transit for resurfacing of the commuter parking lot and installation of high-efficiency lighting near the station.
“They say they are looking for grant money to pay for things, but nothing has been said about how much the citizens of Clarendon Hills will be on the hook for,”said Jan Cummings, a spokesman for Citizen’s for Clarendon Hills.
Cummings said members of Citizens for Clarendon Hills wants to see a specific plan from the village for any work done or how any grant money will be used, along with expected costs for grant-funded projects that will be paid for by Clarendon Hills tax payers.
“They’re still talking about an underpass tunnel with elevators,” Cummings said. “The people here would be responsible for the costs of maintaining that. We don’t even know if Clarendon Hills wants this.”
Recklaus said an underpass is desirable for safety reasons and only will be built if grant money is available to fund it.
“I don’t think any cost of maintenance to the village would be substantial,” he said. “Also, anything we might do, even if it is going to be funded with a grant, would be subject to heavy conversation before any final decision is made.”