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Englewood, Chatham, Auburn Gresham

Will The City Reopen Englewood’s Long-Closed Racine ‘L’ Stop? CTA Gets $2 Million To Study The Plan

The funding, pushed through by outgoing U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, will be used to study "how a new station could be constructed to meet community needs, accessibility requirements and historic considerations.”

The Green Line train tracks in Englewood on January 28, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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WEST ENGLEWOOD — A community-led effort to reopen a South Side “L” station that’s been closed for decades is getting federal funding to outline how to make it a reality.

The CTA will receive $2 million to conduct a “feasibility study” on reopening the Green Line station at 63rd and Racine in West Englewood, according to a news release from outgoing Rep. Bobby Rush.

The money will go toward planning and design analyses “to determine how a new station could be constructed to meet community needs, accessibility requirements and historic considerations,” according to Rush’s office.

The $2 million push “is an important first step” in reopening the Green Line station after nearly 30 years, a CTA spokesperson said. The agency must complete preliminary designs and engineering to determine how the “large-scale” project can move forward, a spokesperson said. 

The study will also boost eligibility for additional funding for the project, the CTA spokesperson said. Total costs to overhaul the community-backed station are still too early to determine, but the scope of work — which will include rebuilding a platform and stairs, adding elevators and historical preservation — could cost $100 million, the spokesperson said. 

“The CTA is grateful for Congressman Rush’s push for federal funding that will allow CTA to explore planning and design concepts for a reopened Racine Green Line station,” the spokesperson said. “The CTA is fully committed to pursuing a reopened Racine Green Line station and making it a vital component of the community’s revitalization.” 

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
The former Racine Green Line stop in Englewood on January 28, 2021.

The funding comes weeks after Englewood community organizers collected 1,000 signatures to add an advisory referendum question about the station to the 2023 ballot. Residents in the 16th Ward will vote on whether the stop should be reopened in February’s election.

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CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr. wrote a Sun-Times op-ed in December saying the agency and city leaders “are fully committed to pursuing a reopened Racine Green Line station and making it a vital component of the community’s revitalization.” 

The 63rd and Racine Green Line was only supposed to go on a two-year hiatus when it shut down permanently in January 1994

Despite protests from neighbors and local activists, the fate of the station was sealed in 1996 when former 20th Ward Ald. Arenda Troutman, who represented both Englewood and Woodlawn, sided with Woodlawn leaders and penned a letter to then-CTA president Robert Belcaster supporting the demolition of the 63rd Street line east of Cottage Grove. Woodlawn leaders cited violence as why they wanted their station permanently dismantled

The Racine Station became an “endangered” Landmarks Illinois location in 1996, certifying it for the National Register of Historic Places and rescuing it from demolition. 

The station has been shut off from neighbors ever since, removing a vital source of transportation from the 63rd Street corridor. Reopening the station will help revitalize the Englewood community, local organizers said. 

“The signatures are proof of the overwhelming support we’ve received from the 16th Ward to reopen the Green Line station,” Cecile DeMello, executive director at Teamwork Englewood, said in December. “Elected officials can see clearly that this is important to the residents and the residents want to see it get done.”

The funding for the Green Line study is among 14 projects Rush pushed as one of his final acts representing the 1st Congressional District. Some of them:

  • Nearly $3.8 million to the Green Era Renewable Energy & Urban Farm Campus to support the Green Era Anaerobic Digester in Auburn Gresham.
  • $2 million to the Illinois Institute of Technology for capital improvements and renovations necessary to establish a Bronzeville Opportunity Engine on campus.
  • $1.6 million for Chicago State University to update technology in the communications, media and theater program.
  • $500,000 to support construction of the National Museum of Gospel Music at Pilgrim Baptist Church.

Rush announced last year he would step down in 2023, ending 15 terms in the House.

Jonathan Jackson, a 56-year-old activist and businessman, easily won the November election to succeed Rush in the deeply blue district. He is scheduled to be sworn in this week.

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