While work got under way this week to expand an existing platform at the Fox River Grove Metra station, construction on a modernized station won't start until around Sept. 1, officials said Friday.
The village is hopeful a revamped train station marks the beginning of ongoing efforts to beautify, and draw new business to the downtown, which lies in a tax-increment finance district.
"The train station, we believe, will be an important part of that," Village President Robert Nunamaker said. "We think it's going to be very positive."
Fox River Grove is part of Metra's Union Pacific Northwest Line, which takes commuters from Harvard to Chicago, with stops in McHenry, Cary, Palatine, Arlington Heights and Des Plaines.
Thursday, Union Pacific, which owns its three namesake lines on the Metra system, began expanding the two, 53-year-old platforms from 330 feet to 640 feet.
Once that's done, Metra will demolish the existing warming house and replace it with one that will include bathrooms and space for vendors, but there will not be room for ticket agents, said Michael Gillis, a Metra spokesman.
Metra will also add another warming shelter east of where the new warming house will be, repave and re-stripe an existing parking lot west of Lincoln Avenue between the tracks and on the south side of Northwest Highway. New LED lights will be added to the platforms, as well as to the parking lot.
The old station has no modern conveniences and has been in service since 1959, but the building probably dates back to the 1920s, Nunamaker said.
Officials expect the new improvements to bring additional riders, but they don't know how many.
"Obviously, a more attractive station, a more convenient and welcoming station, will help us with ridership growth," Gillis said. "And we want our existing riders to have a safe, convenient and appealing station."
The work costs $2,352,900, paid mostly by Metra. Fox River Grove is paying $82,400 to cover the upgrades and lighting it requested in the parking lot and platforms, Gillis said.
The project is expected to be completed within a year. The station will be open during construction, Gillis said.