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Village President: Costly Train Station Improvement Plan 'Put to Bed'

Clarendon Hills Village President Tom Karaba reacted in an emailed statement to a recent post by the community group Citizens for Clarendon Hills.

Editor's note: The following is a message from Clarendon Hills Village President Tom Karaba that was circulated Thursday evening by the Village of Clarendon Hills.

It is in reaction to this Thursday post on the Citizens for Clarendon Hills (C4CH) website regarding a $6 million train station redevelopment plan, which was discussed by the Village Board earlier this year. C4CH also sent out Thursday's post in a mass email.

As the result of a recent posting by the so-called C4CH group that is replete with incorrect and misleading information, I would like to set the record straight on the status of the village's discussions about the future of the Clarendon Hills Metra station.

Earlier this year, the village received a final report paid for by the RTA and West Suburban Mass Transit that examined the feasibility of a large redevelopment project on the Metra station. The study began in 2010 and was performed by Houseal Lavigne and Associates with input from the RTA, Metra, PACE, and BNSF and the public. 

At its March 19, 2012 meeting, the Village Board determined that the plan outlined in the report was not feasible for our community and we "put it to bed." 

While the report was formally "accepted" to be part of the public record and to be available for future discussions, the plan was not adopted to become a component of the village's comprehensive plan or its downtown redevelopment plan. The report does not represent the policy of the village or any policy of its Board of Trustees.

The Village Board, however, is pursuing grant funding for some of the interim infrastructure improvements identified in the original report that would not limit the long term development potential of the site including repaving of the parking lot, installing improved lighting, revitalization of the warming shelters and construction of a possible pedestrian underpass to ease the use of the station and provide for a safer way for children and other pedestrians to cross the railroad tracks. Some nearby communities have received 100 percent funding for similar improvements.

The seeking of the grants for these improvements does not constitute a final decision to construct the improvements themselves. The village will not pursue such improvements unless they are almost entirely funded with outside grants. If grant funding is received, the Village Board will again discuss the project at meetings that are open (as always) to the public before voting to move forward. Earlier this month the village was awarded $100,000 in grants from the West Suburban Mass Transit Board to install much-needed lighting enhancements and parking lot repair and overlay improvements at the Clarendon Hills Metra station. 

More information on the train station study and the Village's position can be found here:http://www.clarendonhills.us/TrainStationPlanning.cfm

Tom Karaba

Village President

Kerry Comstock October 19, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Thanks Patch for posting this and thank you to our Village Board for continually looking for new ways to get grant money to improve our Village. We appreciate all your hard work and volunteer hours on behalf of our village.
Katie McGowan October 19, 2012 at 08:49 PM
I'm glad to see this posted online and I hope people will take the time to read it, rather than reacting to inaccurate information circulated by people who haven't taken the time to get the facts. I'm very grateful for the time and work donated by our volunteer Village Board members.
John Jasper October 19, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Interesting how politicians parse words and phrasing. At Monday night’s CH Board a prepared statement was delivered requesting rejection, in whole, of the accepted train station development proposal. Following delivery, President Karaba stated repeatedly and dismissively that the train station proposal had been declaired “dead on delivery, period” and “put to bed”, implying no further action. He repeated these statements in Thursday's memo. However, in both the meeting and the memo, Karaba states that they are pursuing some components of the proposal, including the underground passage, resurfacing, lighting, etc. Obviously in President Koraba’s mind, dead is not dead - comatose maybe. His statement “put to bed” is accurate in the sense that it was put to bed with a life support system (lack of formal rejection of the whole plan). The plan is in bed with the life support system so that various parts can be harvested at will (with grant funding, etc.) and perhaps the whole plan resurrected when no one is looking (with additional funding and Board bonding authority). President Karaba: something is either dead or it is not, someone is pregnant or not. You can’t be both. How can we trust you in the future when you say a proposal is dead or put to bed? Stop playing games with the Citizens of CH by parsing words and phrases. P.S. I would also suggest that if it was truly dead, it would not have been on the website prior to the meeting.
Edward Reid October 19, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Mr. Jasper, I appreciate your efforts over the last year in attending board meetings and offering your thoughts. I would like to point out that we are volunteer members of a board, no pay, no pension and no political party affiliations. The plan was determined to be not feasible and was not adopted as policy of the Village or its Board of Trustees. The plan did make some smaller , interim suggestions ( to be funded with grant money)that make sense .Just because I became aware of funding for a specific project from this plan does not mean I can not, nor should not, pursue smart improvements. There are funds for improving lighting, paving parking lots, improving the warming shelters . If we are to qualify for funding of one of these projects, it would then be brought to the board (in an open meeting)for a vote. I feel the board and village staff would be remiss to not pursue the potential to improve our smaller infrastructure items through grants. The plan is dead, my attempts to make improvements in this village remain alive. I look forward to your continued participation in the village and welcome your further thoughts on this issue. Ed Reid Trustee Village of Clarendon Hills

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