The area near the Harlem Avenue CTA station will get a sprucing up, courtesy of new federal grant money.
The $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation's "Transportation, Community and System Preservation" (TCSP) program will help pay for improvements near the Green Line station, from Marion Street running west along South Boulevard to Harlem Avenue.
Officials in Oak Park say they plan to replace underground infrastructure, construct wider sidewalks, shorten crosswalk distances, improve area lighting and add more seating — a compliment to the work recently completed along South Marion Street.
In a news release, Oak Park officials said the renovations will be key to luring development to the corridor, which includes a village-owned parking lot at South Boulevard and Harlem Avenue, an area typically used as hang out for cabbies.
Village President David Pope said in the release the newly secured cash was the result of good planning — that the feds favor prepared communities, particularly ones with smart vision for the future.
"The alternative of devoting resources singularly to building new highways in ever more remote, low-density areas has been shown over the past several decades to simply perpetuate sprawl, which then creates its own increasing demand for yet more investment," he said.