The I-290 project could impact the Altenheim property

A revitalized project to rebuild Interstate 290 and create a multimodal transportation system along the highway corridor could have a major impact on Forest Park, the mayor said, and could help determine how authorities are using public property recently. cleaned near Altenheim.

Mayor Rory Hoskins has acknowledged that there are several steps that still need to be taken before any project begins, but he adopted an optimistic note last week, days before President Joe Biden enacted a $ 1 trillion infrastructure package. of dollars on November 15.

Supporters of a plan to reinvent the Eisenhower Freeway corridor have seized the passage of the bill by the state legislature as the time to push for a Department of Transportation proposal Illinois be adopted in 2017, something that may be more realistic today but is still far from a concrete project.

But if efforts to rebuild I-290 get underway, Forest Park wants to be a big part of it, and Hoskins said the village has a wish list they’ve shared with local and local decision-makers. These priorities include a reconstructed and widened Circle Avenue bridge, added bike lanes along Desplaines Avenue as it crosses the highway and, more than anything, a thorough review of Forest Park Blue Line station, the end of the line at 711 avenue Desplaines.

“We don’t have all the answers, but we’re just excited about the idea of ​​a significantly rebuilt Forest Park Blue Line station,” Hoskins said.

Among the things the village can suggest, he said, are improving the roads around the transit center, “security improvements” such as increased surveillance cameras, the addition of solar panels on the site. roof of the building and a physical connection to the nearby Howard Mohr Community Center.

And due to the location of the station, a refurbishment of the transit center will be part of the process of building the nearly 11 acres of village-owned land near the retirement community of Altenheim, a property that has no been developed for years.

Dawn Sanchez, left, and Mayor Rory Hoskins watch construction workers remove the spire from Altenheim Chapel on April 26. | Alex Rogals, personal photographer

The Altenheim Village property adjoins the CTA land near the Blue Line station, a single building still owned and operated as Altenheim, and the Concordia Cemetery. Forest Park received a grant earlier this year to demolish abandoned buildings on the property, a project which was completed late last month, and the village is expected to discuss next steps for a multi-purpose project in the coming weeks. .

Any decision on what to do with the pitch, Hoskins said, would be made taking into account upcoming changes to the Blue Line station.

“With the uncertainty of what can happen to the Blue Line in terms of possible reconstruction, it just lends itself to a lot of action and a lot of entry,” he said. “There are locals across the street. There are seniors who live in L’Altenheim. You obviously want to have a participative government in making a big decision, and we will therefore seek the advice of many different partners.

Hoskins added that any decision regarding the Altenheim would not depend on what happened to the Blue Line station, but he and his colleagues would “be aware of what is going on”.

While the I-290 reconstruction project – and the ripple effects it would have on the blue line, level crossings and the Altenheim – is still unofficial and is In his early days, Hoskins expects to see further improvements to the village thanks to the federal government. infrastructure package.

Returning during a so-called “infrastructure week” under the previous presidential administration, Hoskins said United States House Representative Danny Davis had contacted him to ask him to include the projects. of Forest Park. He proposed funding to “serve” Jackson Boulevard between Harlem and Desplaines avenues, which Hoskins believes is included in this current infrastructure package. This project would include improved lighting and curb extensions on a busy stretch of road that includes the Forest Park Public Library and Garfield Elementary School.

“I think all of the mayors and their councils and councils are pretty optimistic right now,” Hoskins said. “I spoke to my colleagues about [it]. Were excited. … We want Illinois to benefit. We want Forest Park to benefit, of course.

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