ENGLEWOOD — Do you remember when the Racine Green Line first shut down? The “Go Green On Racine” team is looking for residents to share their stories.
People are invited to fill out a Google form with questions about the closure’s impact on their lives and whether they’d like to see the station reopened. The “Go Green” team as received over 40 responses so far, and nearly all of them are in favor of bringing the stop back, R.A.G.E. (Residents Association of Greater Englewood) Founder Asiaha Butler said.
“A lot of our on-the-ground organizers always like to uplift stories of residents here in the community, and we wanted to start capturing people’s memories, past and present, and what they see for the future of 63rd [Street],” said Butler.
The station shut down in 1993 as part of a system-wide effort to renovate the Green Line. The temporary closure became a permanent one after concerns about crime and low ridership. When the Green Line returned four years later, Englewood would only have two stops remaining: Halsted and Ashland.
The economic repercussions of losing the Racine station — also a landmark — would be felt for years to come, with residents and businesses moving away.
The Go Green team has been meeting with CTA leadership and federal officials to drum up interest in the project, which they see as an integral part of their plan to revitalize the area. Butler believes with enough momentum, the Racine station can return to its former glory. The team hopes to see the stop up and running by 2024.
“We really want to arm our advocacy with stories, and stories of the people are the most powerful. Once we collect the data, we’re going to follow up with those who are interested, and start doing some filming and audio recording to capture them. It’s really about having an organized, robust campaign around reviving the line,” added Butler.
Bringing it back will be a costly affair with renovations estimated at $90-100 million. Rep. Jesus Garcia (D-Illinois), one of the plan’s biggest advocates and a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has recommended $61 million in federal money to help.
After meeting with CTA officials, Butler is optimistic.
“We want to work holistically together to think about how we can advocate together to get dollars for this, and [CTA] is willing to partner with us,” said Butler. “But there are things on the state level that have to happen as well.”
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