CTA to tap $3 million in TIF funds for Wilson station rehab

The CTA will use up to $3 million in tax increment financing to rehabilitate the Red Line’s Wilson station — long considered one of the worst stations.

Earlier this month the CTA board approved the agreement with the city to tap funds from the Wilson Yard TIF District. Planned station improvements include replacing flooring, walls, windows and railings inside the station, said a CTA spokesperson.

Other enhancements would include replacing the roof, electrical system, plumbing and heating/cooling units and improving the concession spaces in the Gerber building — the Wilson stationhouse built in 1923. The improvements are targeted to preserving the historic building.

No word yet on when construction will start. But this is really great news.


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  • All of that is great news indeed, but I don't see the word "platform." Will that continue to be one of the worst, with protruding slats and lighted by bare light bulbs/CFRs? Hope there's a plan to fix the express-track platforms and passageways if they plan to continue using those during construction projects.

  • In reply to scottknitter:

    Scott, you're right, and I was thinking the same thing. All the money appears to be targeted at the station. But I do recall last year at least some of the platform boards were replaced, and of course they added the new enclosures to the stairwells, etc.

    Seriously though, if there's a protruding slat, I would call the CTA and tell them the exact location. I did that at my station and it was fixed within a couple of days.

  • In reply to scottknitter:

    So instead of completely demolishing this disaster, they will do a patchjob.
    Who cares about the station house? I don't.
    What's needed at Wilson are two island platforms, just like Belmont & Fullerton, so the Express trains can stop there.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I'm sorry you feel that way, but Wilson Station could be the most beautiful station on the whole system if they had preserved it and/or fix it up. The platform not so much... Parts of the original station were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, but most of those pieces are gone after a redesign not long after its opening. If this station were in a nicer part of town, this would have never been allowed to decay so much.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    This is a great start, but realistically $3 million doesn't get you far with this station. It would probably take $50-80 to make it comparable to the new ones at Belmont & Fullerton

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Kevin, can you shed any light on where funds come from to repair stations? I may sound like a broken record on this, but the Monroe Red Line subway platform is now down to ZERO benches. That's right, they're all gone now. I don't think the CTA has any policy that benches are unnecessary, because there are plenty of them on the State-Lake subway platform. So the question arises, why are the Monroe benches all gone now, and are there any plans to put any benches there for people who need to sit? I recall you have brought this up to the CTA before and they said they would look into it. Still looking, it seems.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    CC: I will ask again....

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    Wilson already has existing platforms for 4-track service until 1963 when the North Shore Line ceased to exist. The canopy was removed from the east platform in 1997.

    Making Wilson a transfer station would actually make sense if we could get area bus service consolidated to make stops there as well. However, there would have to be a land grab. Perhaps removing parking under the station? It'd be a tight squeeze, either way.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    While I strongly oppose TIFs in general, at least this is a good use of the TIF. The residents in this TIF paid between 50 - 70% of their property taxes to fund the Wilson Yard Project. What a crock. You'll never convince me that the largest parcel of undeveloped land on the north side could not be profitable without taxpayers propping up the developer... But I digress.

    I'm really hoping they do a nice job with this station renovation. I'm not sure if it is considered a Historic Landmark like the Brown Line stations. Once Target moves into here, maybe it will improve things and they will have an opportunity to put in some decent stores as well as use the storefront space going unused. It would also be very cool if they renovated the Majestic store property that the CTA owns across the street, that matches the facade of the station.

    I'm hopeful, but $3 million is not enough to do the platforms I'm thinking... Hopefully one day they can use the auxiliary platform on a more permanent basis. Maybe even have dual platforms like Belmont/Fullerton if necessary.

  • The CDOT web site discusses the State-Grand subway reconstruction, but says nothing about repairs in other stations. The CTA web site discusses escalator repair and modernization, so we know they are responsible for at least some station elements.

  • Marjie, I would say you are doing lots already when you encourage friends to use the CTA.

    As for high salaries, the top paid guy at the CAT gets less than $200K a year, which I think is more than fair for running a company with a billion-dollar plus budget and so many employees.

  • What you can do - and what we should all be doing instead of petty attacks on the union - is pressuring Springfield to fund CTA adequately. The most immediate obstacle is that legislators are doing nothing about the catastrophic state budget, which has to be fixed before we can get back to seriously addressing transit funding. Income taxes urgently need to be raised, with increased exemptions for lower income earners, and until they are vital services will continue to deteriorate. So call your state rep and tell them to support HB174, a bill to fix the budget that the senate already passed and which Quinn supports.

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