WEST LOOP — The long-planned rehab project at the Wilson Red Line station inched forward Wednesday as the CTA Board reaffirmed a $3 million TIF deal with the city.
Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool said he expected a federal environmental assessment soon to be completed as well, with the release of federal funding for the $203 million project, to allow construction to start this fall.
"We've completed that community process," Claypool said Wednesday after the CTA Board meeting. "We've made changes consistent with what the community wanted."
The Federal Transit Administration is "satisfied with the changes we've made," he added, "so I don't see any barriers to getting the final approval."
CTA spokesman Brian Steele said it was just a matter of pinning down the final details. Bids are due on the project next month, with the board expected to approve those deals in May to set the stage for the beginning of construction in the fall.
Claypool said the CTA had also reached labor agreements with its unions allowing for a "disadvantaged worker" program much like one executed during the Red Line South project, which allowed 13 percent of labor to be provided by locally disadvantaged workers.
Claypool reaffirmed that security was a major concern in the rehabilitation project, and he expected the new station to have an immediate impact on the surrounding neighborhood.
"You should probably have less security concerns once the project is completed," he said. "Because you'll have a modern 'megastation.'
"It'll be a significant improvement to the entire neighborhood," Claypool added. "There'll be much more open vistas, which is part of the safety. So I think it will be a huge boon to the Uptown community."
The CTA Board reset the dates Wednesday on a pact to draw $3 million from the city for Tax Increment Finance funding, aimed at renovating the Gerber Building as part of the overall project.