By R. Bruce Dold
Date of Publication: December 13, 1982
Source: Chicago Tribune
THREE JACKSON Park rapid transit line stations closed since March because of unsafe conditions, were reopened Sunday as Mayor Jane Byrne released details of a $72. million plan to revitalize the elevated line and the surrounding neighborhood.
Black-suited and bow-tied waiters served coffee and rolls on a silver service to Byrne and an entourage of staff members and reporters who rode the first Chicago Transit Authority train in nine months to stop at the King Drive, Cottage Grove and University stations along 63rd Street in the Woodlawn neighborhood.
Service to those stations and the Jackson Park station was halted March 4 after a routine CTA inspection discovered that the 90-year-old Dorchester Avenue bridge, east of University station, was seriously deteriorated.
Engineers hired by the city determined in June that replacing the bridge would cost $3.5 million, and, temporary repairs would cost $1 million. The city instead spent $2.2 million to rehabilitate the stations and to build crossover switches west of the bridge so the stations could be used. The bridge and the Jackson Park station remain closed under the plan and will be torn down.
Residents in the area who suggested the looming " L" structure contributed to blight" asked that the "L" be torn down along 63rd Street. "We reached a compromise. We don't think the elevated has to be a blight," David Schulz, deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Works, said at the University station.
THE CITY'S $72 million plan includes $16 million to remove substandard and vacant buildings, resurfacing 63d Street, build a new fire station and library and expand an existing residential rehabilitation program.
The city will spend $56 million to build escalators and elevators to the above-ground platforms, modernize existing platforms and rails, and build stations at King Drive and Cottage Grove and a terminal station at Dorchester Avenue. The project should be completed by 1988.