Re-elect Dan Lipinski Congressman

Officials: Use grant money only for Stone Ave. Station revival

June 8, 2010 - My Suburban Life

There is consensus among La Grange officials the Stone Avenue Train Station is in need of work.

There is also consensus that repairs should be made with money that comes from other sources than the village.

The La Grange Village Board met for a special workshop session Monday, June 7, to study a revised project scope for the historical station, which has been identified as a keystone for any plans to revitalize the West End business district.

In 2009, three primary project components were identified for the restoration of the building, platforms and surrounding area of the station, each with an estimated $1 million price tag.

At a capital projects workshop held in February, about $1.1 million had been secured from grants, including $700,000 secured by Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-3rd District, of Western Springs. Another $400,000 of village funds have been earmarked for the project, bringing the total to nearly $1.5 million.

At the workshop, board members listened as Marc Rohde of Legat Architects, and Patrick Davis of Mortenson Construction presented a revised project scope and estimate of costs designed to identify necessary and optional construction activities in an in-line format.

The purpose was to review necessary and optional construction elements in a line-item format that have been recommended by staff and the architect. The board also reviewed the cost estimates under three different scenarios, at or less than the $1.4 million project budget.

One high-cost element of the plan that several board members thought could be eliminated was the $618,000 Kiss 'n' Ride drop off on Burlington Avenue.

Trustee Mark Kuchler said eliminating the dedicated drop-off in favor of parking spaces would help alleviate the parking challenges in the area.

He also favored eliminating built-in magazine boxes integrated into the building design at a cost of $15,000.

Trustee William Holder defended the use of brick pavers surrounding the building despite the $92,000 price tag.

"We don't have to do a big rebuild, but we should make improvements that not only improve the longevity but the functionality."

Kuchler said he favored staying within the $1.1 million budget limit for the entire project, and using the $400,000 of village funds for other issues, such as the increasing pension payouts by the village.

Trustees Michael Horvath and James Palermo agreed.

"The budget concerns about pensions are real," Horvath said. "That's one of the reasons I think we should have hold our own $400,000 for now."

Palermo said he has long raised the issue of the retirement age, and the village has yet to see what revenue it will get from the state. He said he was adamant about staying within the $1.1 million parameter.

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