Metra's shelter from the storm opens in Bartlett
There's something to be said about using a train depot that dates back to 1873.
There's also something to be said about getting out of the Chicago area's merciless wind.
The new Bartlett Metra station finally opens today, and with it, commuters can start enjoying simple luxuries such as shelter.
The prairie-style building offers plenty of indoor waiting space, as opposed to the old open platform and tiny office.
By the end of the year, commuters also should be able to get a mochaccino, muffin and magazine at the high-end coffee shop Tazza. The Roselle-based business recently won Bartlett's approval to open in the 300-square-foot vendor space carved out in the station.
It's a convenience officials expected to begin offering two years ago.
Metra purchased $1 million in land back in 2004 to make room for the larger station. But the village put on the brakes to ensure the station's design complemented its new Town Center.
"Metra was cognizant of the fact we were trying to redevelop our downtown, and we wanted the architecture of the station to fit in with the area," Village President Catherine Melchert said.
The opening also was pushed back several months by weather-related delays and the unforeseen contaminated soil cleanup, a minor problem officials attributed to more than a century of rail traffic and prior industrial uses on the land.
"It's been a long time, but good things come to those who wait," Melchert said.
With more than 1,200 daily passengers, Bartlett's depot at Railroad Avenue and Main Street is the second busiest on Metra's Milwaukee District West line.
The station comes with a $4.8 million price tag, of which the village kicked in $421,000. Bartlett's contribution paid for architectural upgrades such as the copper roof, brick pavers and period lighting.
The defunct depot eventually will showcase Bartlett's storied rail history thanks to an agreement with Metra allowing the village to renovate, operate and maintain the old station as a museum.
Bartlett recently applied for a grant to help fund the preservation. Exhibits may include how the railroad affected the local economy and industry, jobs and the old Chicago and Pacific Railroad.
Melchert will join several Metra executives for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Those interested in attending will have plenty of parking options: There's a new lot east of the station.