The north-facing warming shelter at the Jefferson Park CTA transit station, pictured on March 9 2022, was boarded up March 1 to protect the structure after a man vandalized some of its glass panels, closing off the shelter to the public. Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago

JEFFERSON PARK — Bus shelters at the Jefferson Park transit center are likely to reopen before the end of the year after being damaged and closed for months, officials said.

In late February, a man damaged the glass of CTA bus shelters at 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave. He was arrested and charged; onlookers previously said they believed he experienced a mental health episode.

The CTA covered up the shelters “as a measure of safety for our customers and to also protect the remaining panels and structure from any further damage,” spokesperson Felicia Matthews previously said.

The bus shelters, part of the station’s $25 million overhaul in 2019, featured a yellow, orange and blue art glass installation known as “Center of the Universe” and were created by Indiana-based artist Jamie Pawlus. They were often used by commuters and homeless people looking for a warm place to stay.

The surreal windbreakers was installed at the Jefferson Park CTA station, 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave., in 2019. Credit: alex v. hernandez/block club chicago

The CTA has been working to replace the glass since the incident but had to order custom fabrication because ordinary glass cannot be used, officials said.

“The replacement work requires specialized, pre-fabricated glass that must be custom-built. That takes time. CTA also has to procure a new contract with a glass manufacturer for this work, and the manufacturer has to follow strict specifications for the artwork,” officials told Block Club.

The glass is now being made and will be installed soon. Agency leaders plans to reopen the shelters by the end of the year, officials said.

Neighbors said they hope to see the shelters open up again soon for them and others. The Jefferson Park CTA terminal is one of the most frequently used Blue Line stations.

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